Egypt’s financial sector braced for revolution anniversary

Egypt's financial sector is bracing for protests scheduled for 25 January to commemorate the first anniversary of the beginning of the revolution amid fears of attacks on banks located near protest venues.

State-run Al-Ahram newspaper said on its website Tuesday that the Bank of Alexandria decided to close its branches in Cairo's Tahrir Square and the nearby Falaky Street, as well as the Suez and Arish branches, on Thursday in case demonstrations in those areas continue after Wednesday.

The website said officials at the Development and Agricultural Credit Bank had issued oral orders to close some branches Thursday in case any security problems occur during the revolution celebrations.

Several banks saw an increase in cash withdrawals, particularly in upscale areas, due to fears that what happened to the financial sector during last year's uprising will happen again this year, the website said. It said most companies operating in Egypt decided to disburse salaries before Wednesday, prompted by similar fears.

The Central Bank of Egypt on Monday issued a statement that said work will resume at all banks and financial institutions after the official holiday Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said his ministry is prepared for the worst-case scenario during Wednesday's celebrations. Ibrahim said at a press conference at the Cairo Security Directorate that the ministry is coordinating with the military to secure public facilities.

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