Egypt said on Wednesday it would ban demonstrations and detain protesters, seeking to draw a line under unprecedented protests against President Hosni Mubarak's rule.
Activists called on Egyptians to take to the streets again on Wednesday to end Mubarak's 30-year rule after a "Day of Wrath" of anti-government protests across Egypt in which three protesters and one policeman were killed. Police fired teargas and water cannon in the early hours of Wednesday to disperse protesters.
"No provocative movements or protest gatherings or organisation of marches or demonstrations will be allowed, and immediate legal procedures will be taken and participants will be handed over to investigating authorities," the state news agency MENA cited the Interior Ministry as saying.
Some 20,000 demonstrators, complaining of poverty, unemployment, corruption and repression and inspired by this month's downfall of the president of Tunisia, had turned out in cities across Egypt on Tuesday to demand that Mubarak step down.
"To any free and honest citizen with a conscience who fears for his country, to anyone who saw yesterday's violence against protesters, we ask you to pronounce a general strike across Egypt today and tomorrow," one activist wrote on a Facebook site that has been used as a tool to marshal protests.