Saturday was largely given over to state-sanctioned expressions of devotion to army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah Sisi. But police dealt harshly with marches by his opponents -- either supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi or secular activists who had helped spearhead the 2011 Tahrir Square uprising against autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak.
The Interior Ministry said more than 1,000 arrests were made across the country -- again, the highest in months. The last bout of street violence on this scale was on Oct. 6, when a holiday celebrating the Egyptian military brought rival demonstrators into the street. More than 50 people were killed that day.
Political violence in Egypt has surged in the seven months since Morsi was removed by the army after huge protests demanding his ouster. More than 1,400 people have been killed in such violence since July, Amnesty International said last week. Most of them were supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, but police have also used deadly force against secular anti-government marchers.
Secularists have also been the target of a recent wave of arrests that has swept up academics, filmmakers, activists and journalists.