CAIRO Ñ Egypt has raised its security alert during massive anti-U.S.
rallies in cities around the country.
Officials said authorities have been alarmed by the size of anti-U.S.
rallies. These demonstrations have attracted numerous opposition
politicians, union leaders, students and clergy.
Officials said the alert has resulted in the bolstering of Egyptian
security forces and the introduction of anti-riot units in major cities, Middle East Newsline reported.
The alert was one of a series of measures meant to bolster
security in Cairo and major Egyptian cities. This includes the extension of
emergency laws by parliament in a move meant to prevent anti-U.S. rallies in
Officials said authorities have boosted security around major Western
embassies, particularly the U.S. and British embassies. They said
authorities would not allow any demonstrations in front of the U.S. and
In addition, authorities have arrested leaders of the frequent anti-U.S.
and pro-Iraqi demonstrations held in Alexandria and Cairo. A leading figure
in the demonstrations, Kamel Khalil, has been detained.
On Monday, parliament, by an overwhelming majority, extended by the
state of emergency for another three years. The state of emergency was
imposed in 1981 in wake of the assassination of President Anwar Sadat and
maintained ever since.
Egyptian Interior Minister Habib Adli said the state of emergency is an
important tool in the country's war against terrorism. In a briefing to
parliament's Defense and National Security Committee, Adli said terrorism
has increased throughout the world and security authorities must remain
In Washington, the Bush administration expressed concern that Egyptian
authorities would abuse the state of emergency. Officials said Egypt appears
to have referred dissidents and other civilians to military tribunals for
offenses not connected to terrorism.
"We have had serious concerns that we have often raised with the
government of Egypt concerning the manner in which that law has been
applied," State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker said.