JUBA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan on Thursday said the deployment of soldiers on the streets in Juba and surrounding areas was not to avert anticipated street protests but a normal routine to beef up security ahead of army day celebrations.
Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of information and broadcasting, denied that the South Sudan People's Defense Forces (SSPDF) were deployed on Tuesday to avert planned May 16 protests led by the so-called Red Card Movement, a youth group that is rallying South Sudanese all over the world to demonstrate against the current leadership.
"We always deploy forces ahead of any celebration as precaution measures, so it is not something strange," said Makuei.
Red Card Movement is using social media to mobilize support for the protests on May 16, the day the SSPDF celebrates its establishment.
"To all members of the Red Card Movement who are residing in Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, U.S., Australia, Britain and all over the world, we all should go and make public demonstration in front of the South Sudan embassy in our respective countries," the group said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Makuei warned South Sudanese youth not to involve themselves in protests being planned in Juba and neighboring countries by the Red Card Movement.