Egypt marked the first anniversary of the popular overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, but a poor turnout for a strike called by activists to protest the slow pace of change from military rule laid bare the country's deep divisions.

The general strike, called to press demands for the immediate departure of the military council that replaced Mr Mubarak, failed to cause major disruption.

It was opposed by religious figures and political groups, including the powerful Islamists.

It was business as usual at Cairo's railway station and airport.
Buses and the metro ran as normal and an official said the strike call had no impact on the Suez Canal.

Hailed as heroes a year ago for unseating Mr Mubarak, the army has faced growing criticism for its management of Egypt since assuming power at the culmination of 18 days of mass protests fuelled by poverty and demands for democratic government.

Though the generals have pledged to hand power to an elected president by mid-year, the protest groups that ignited the anti-Mubarak uprising doubt their intentions, seeing them as an extension of his rule and an obstacle to real democracy.

A year after hundreds of thousands of people packed into Tahrir Square united in their demand for an end to Mr Mubarak's three-decade rule, Egypt faces a more divided picture.

Many have grown tired of street action and are urging a more patient approach, arguing Egypt needs stability to allow the recovery of an economy battered by a year of turmoil.

While the call for action failed to make an impact, one of the activist groups expected more strikes in the coming days.

The army deployed extra soldiers and tanks to protect state buildings and public property in the build-up to the anniversary.