Egypt's president, speaking ahead of next week's anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, has vowed a firm response to any unrest.

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi spoke at a ceremony Saturday marking Police Day, which falls on Jan. 25, the day the uprising began five years ago.

He awarded medals to the families of nearly 40 policemen killed in militant attacks, including eight generals.

He said the "security and stability of nations are not to be toyed with," adding: "We will not allow the blood of martyrs to go in vain."

El-Sissi, who as military chief overthrew an elected Islamist president in 2013, has presided over a sweeping crackdown on dissent. Egypt is also battling an Islamic insurgency based in the Sinai Peninsula.