Presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali denounced on Monday the "media exaggeration" of the number of troops assigned to secure President Mohamed Morsy's visits outside Cairo.
"There are no more than 500 or 600 soldiers, which is the minimum required," Ali said. "And the president makes his visits on Fridays so as not to disrupt the traffic."
He also said the renovations that were carried out in Assiut for Morsy’s visit cost no more than LE8 million. "It is for the benefit of the city at the end of the day," he said. "We cannot exceed our budget."
Activists have criticized the heavy security measures imposed during Morsy’s visits to governorates. During his visit to Marsa Matrouh on 19 October, there were reports that shop owners were ordered to close stores on Morsy’s route.
Sources, on condition of anonymity, had estimated that 7,000 soldiers and snipers secured Morsy’s visit to Assiut last week.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm