Egypt: Strikes mark first anniversary of Mubarak overthrow

On the first anniversary of the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, activists today held a day of strikes and civil disobedience, the Associated Press reported.

The AP also reported that Egyptian authorities had arrested an American student, an Australian reporter and their Egyptian guide, accusing them  of bribing members of the public to attend the protests.

Police said residents in the city of Mahalla al-Kobra accused the three of handing out money to potential protesters.

The protests and arrests occured as US Army Gen. Martin Dempsy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, met with Egypt's transitional military authorities to discuss Egypt's crackdown on civil society organizations, according to the AP.

Egyptian authorities last week committed 43 democracy activitists, including 19 Americans and the son of a US Cabinet member, to trial on similar accusations of paying to foment disorder in an apparent effort to prevent civilian oversight of its assets and the erosion of its political influence, according to the AP.

More on GlobalPost: Prominent activist detained ahead of strike

The protests are to pressure Egypt's increasingly unpopular Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to hand power to civilian rule.

Activists have called for strikes in universities and workplaces, with students to begin staging protests from 8am local time, the AP reported.

Demonstrators were expected to gather in Tahrir Square, in the capital Cairo, which was the epicenter of the protests that toppled Mubarak after 18 days of street protests and violence.

The SCAF, which has promised to hand over power after presidential elections in June, has resisted pressure to speed up the transition process.

On Friday it issued a statement warning that "plotters" would bring "chaos and destruction" in their attempts to undermine the Egyptian state, the BBC reported.

The SCAF statement said:

"We will never yield to threats, and we will never give in to pressure. We tell you quite frankly that our dear Egypt faces plans aimed at striking at the heart of our revolution. We are facing plots against the nation aiming to undermine the institutions of the Egyptian state, and to topple the state itself so that chaos reigns."

More from GlobalPost: Would moving the interior ministry halt Egypt's violence?

According to Egyptian state television, transport workers will not be joining the strike, and military chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, has said troops will be deployed across the country, the AP reported.

While opposition parties are supporting the February 11 strikes and protests, the Muslim Brotherhood, which won the largest number of seats in recent parliamentary elections, has publicly opposed the action.

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