Thousands gather in Egypt's Tahrir Square | Free Free Palestine

Activists had called for a mass show of unity on Friday, a week after 15 people were killed in sectarian violence in the country.Thousands of people have gathered in Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, rallying for different causes.

But many of those gathered in the square were there to show their support for Palestinian unity, ahead of "Nakba day", marking the creation of the state of Israel and displacement of thousands of Palestinians.

Demonstrators also celebrated the reconciliation deal signed recently between Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions.

Meanwhile, a few hundred Copts staged a sit-in outside the state television headquarters, calling for justice over the weekend's sectarian violence.

Footage from Tahrir Square showed people waving Palestinian flags and banners with slogans for Egyptian national unity.

Call for Gaza march

Activists have called for a march to neighbouring Gaza at the weekend, to protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Egyptian authorities on Friday blocked access to the Sinai peninsula to prevent a march from Cairo to Gaza.The interior ministry has urged them to cancel the march and Khaled Meshaal, the head of the political bureau of Hamas, said that for the time being, Egyptians are not "required" to march to the Gaza Strip in support of the Palestinian cause.

The march was due to leave from Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday to protest the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and call for the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.

"Peace Bridge", one of the main access routes to Sinai from mainland Egypt, has been closed to everyone aside from residents of the peninsula.

The army also stepped up security around the peninsula, a security official said.

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo to demand the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the severance of ties with the Jewish state.

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