At least 130 people have been arrested across Egypt as calls for an uprising against poor economic conditions and rising prices went largely unheeded.
In the capital Cairo, where riot police had been deployed in force in anticipation of Friday’s protests, some 39 alleged demonstrators were arrested.
Police also quickly scattered several dozen protesters who assembled in the port city of Suez, according to media reports.
Meanwhile in Beheira province, some 70km north of Cairo, sources told Al Jazeera that security forces fired teargas and rubber bullets against protesters.
There had been calls on social media by a group calling itself the Movement of the Poor for protests against rising prices and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Unlicenced protests had been banned in Egypt after the military overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and launched a crackdown on his followers.
After months of a dollar crunch that caused a slump in imports, Egypt last week floated the pound, drastically depreciating its value. Inflation, currently at 14 percent, is expected to rise.
The government said the move, part of an austerity programme in tandem with a $12 billion IMF loan, could no longer be postponed.
Previous governments had been wary of such measures, fearing they could spark unrest.
The Egyptian economy has suffered from a general slowdown since the revolution of January 2011.
Political uncertainty, macroeconomic instability and global economic turmoil since the 2008 crisis have all contributed to Egypt’s prolonged recession, soaring unemployment and foreign currency shortages.
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