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Morsi supporters stage rallies on Rabaa's 1-year mark

Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi staged demonstrations Thursday morning in parts of Egypt to commemorate one year since security forces violently cleared two major pro-Morsi protest encampments in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda Squares. The protests came in response to an earlier call by the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, Morsi's main support bloc, for an "uprising" against the military-backed government on the first anniversary of the killing of hundreds of Morsi supporters in an hours-long dispersal operation by Egyptian security forces. In eastern Cairo's Nasr City district, close to the now-iconic Rabaa Square, protesters marched in red-stained shrouds to symbolize the killings and shouted "the people want to bring down the regime" with some carrying posters of Morsi, who is currently imprisoned pending multiple trials. Protesters also staged demonstrations in several other cities around Egypt, demanding accountability for officials who ordered the dispersal.

The protests come as Egyptian security forces tightened up security measures around main streets and vital establishments since the early hours of Thursday in anticipation of pro-Morsi rallies.

Protesters blocked a number of roads in Cairo as well as southern Assiut. In Upper Egypt's Minya and Beni Soueif, some protesters blocked railway tracks.

Egypt beefs up security in Tahrir square

Egyptian security forces intensified their presence in major streets Thursday morning as supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi prepared to mark the passage of one year since the deadly dispersal of their protest encampments.

"Security forces have been put on high preparedness since early morning at many streets and around vital establishments as well as police stations and prison facilities," Hani Abdel-Latif, spokesman for the Egyptian Interior Ministry, told Anadolu Agency.

"Thus far, there have been no attacks or chaos," he added.

Short of blocking them, police and army forces reinforced deployments around Cairo's Rabaa and Nahda Square, where hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters were killed in an hours-long dispersal by security forces.

In central Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, security forces set up barricades and barbed wires around the entrances and deployed five tanks around the Egyptian Museum.

Security forces also tightened up measures at the main entrances to Cairo, searching cars suspected to be boarding Morsi supporters who might be heading to the capital to take part in protests called for by the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy – Morsi's main support bloc.

A military source said that 6,000 troops have been deployed to secure the southern entrance to the strategic Suez Canal waterway in northeast Egypt.

Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who won Egypt's first free presidential election in 2012, was removed from office by the military last year following protests against his single year in power.

Former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, widely considered the chief orchestrator of Morsi's ouster, was elected Egypt's president in a May presidential poll.

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