Hanan Attia says she can no longer leave her home on Fridays in the Egyptian capital, where bloody weekly protests and insecurity have left many anxious families dreading the weekend.
"It's no longer a day of rest, but one of fear and anxiety," Attia told AFP.
Since November, when President Mohammed Morsi issued a controversial decree that widened his powers and pushed through a contested Islamist-drafted constitution, the country has been deeply divided.
On almost every Friday - the first day of the Egyptian weekend - since the decree, opposition groups have called protests against Morsi and his powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which have regularly degenerated into violence.
Fridays, traditionally a day of family gatherings and outings, has now become synonymous with violence, blood and even death, many say.
In January, the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak and brought Morsi to power, triggered the deadliest confrontations between police and protesters in which more than 60 people were killed.
"I'm not able to travel to [the northern city of] Alexandria to see my family because I'm scared of the protests and the road blocks," Attia, the mother of three said. "The day starts off with demonstrations and ends up with shooting, molotov cocktails, violence and blood."
Even if the most violent confrontations are confined to specific areas such as near Tahrir Square or the presidential palace, the rise in insecurity across the country including robberies, carjackings and random shootings have created widespread anxiety in a city once known for its safety despite its large size and socio-economic inequalities (...)