|A boy holds the Egyptian flag in Raba'a Al-Adaweya square where supporters of Egypt's ousted president have been sitting-in since June 28. Cairo, Aug. 12, 2013. Morsi's supporters prepared for a possible attack by security forces on their two main Cairo sit-ins in Al-Nahda square and Raba'a Al-Adaweya square by building roadblocks and sand barriers. It comes as Egypt' s leadership vows that the decision to disperse the sit-ins is irreversible. (Xinhua/Amru Salahuddien)
by Mahmoud Fouly, Mahmoud Adel
CAIRO, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- At two major squares in Egypt's capital of Cairo, pro-Morsi sit-inners increased "guards" at the entrances in the early hours of Monday, amid circulated news about possible police crackdown.
Loyalists of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi have been holding two major open-ended sit-ins at Rabia al-Adawiya Square in Cairo and Nahda Square in Giza since June 30, a few days before Morsi's ouster by popular-backed military procedures, demanding his reinstatement and referring to his overthrow as "a military coup."
On overnight Sunday, pro-Morsi protesters at Rabia al-Adawiya closed more side streets leading to the square, besides the main ones, using removed sidewalk thick tiles and sand sacks to make the square more like a well-guarded fortress.
Ali Saeed, a 43-year-old mechanic who came from Beni Suef in Upper Egypt to Cairo to join the pro-Morsi sit-in, said that they had received the news about possible security crackdown on protesters, but would respond with steadfastness and persistence.
"I am here with my teenage children, and my wife and daughter will join in next Friday," Saeed told Xinhua.
Another sit-inner, Haddath al-Gamil, said that the news about potential police' raid on sit-ins, which was circulated overnight, has increased the number of sit-inners rather than intimidating them.
"I did not intend to spend the night at the square, but after I heard the news I decided not to go back home but to stay with my fellow protesters," said the 37-year-old laborer.
"Our 'weapons' here are the prayers, remembrance of God and recitation of the Holy Quran," Gamil told Xinhua.
Thirty-four groups of Central Security riot police were at Cairo-Alexandria highway heading toward Rabia al-Adawiya sit-in in the early hours of Monday, a security source was quoted by the pan- Arab, Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV channel as saying.
The number of volunteer guards at the entrances and exits of the square has noticeably increased, searching everyone coming inside and also checking their identities.
Ahmed al-Sayyid, an accountant in his late 20s, is one of those guards, who all wore vests and helmets and held sticks in their hands.
"When we heard the news after 2:00 a.m. (00:00 GMT) about 34 groups of 2,700 riot policemen, the number of people joining the sit-in multiplied," he told Xinhua, reaffirming their sit-in was peaceful and that they had no weapons.
Some of the sit-inners are women and children, but they deny being used as human shields against security crackdown.
"Using women and orphan kids in our sit-ins is a ridiculous rumor, because a lot of family members are here and all the women and children come with their husbands and parents," said Mona al- Shafei, a 50-year-old woman wearing a face-covering veil.
Several hours have passed and the riot police have not shown up as expected, leaving Egyptians in a state of anxiety and speculation. After a long sleepless night, many protesters started to leave in the early morning to get some sleep at home, while some others went on working out and playing football.