Egypt: Anti-Sisi Protests Erupt Again
Egypt is bracing for another day of protests, as anger stemming from economic hardship and alleged top-level corruption threatens to eclipse a long-standing ban on street rallies despite an intensifying crackdown.
Calls for demonstrations have multiplied in recent days, with activists urging participation in what they have dubbed the “Friday of Anger” rallies.
“This is our chance to liberate our country,” Mohamed Ali, a former military contractor, said in a video message posted on Facebook on Thursday.
“Every day, our numbers are rising. There is no difference between Christian and Muslim … secular or liberal, we are the people of Egypt,” he added, urging people to participate in the rallies.
Elected president in 2014 after pushing predecessor Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power the previous year, Sissi is seen by many as one of the most authoritarian figures in the Middle East.
The latest wave of protests came after Ali, who lives in self-imposed exile, last week called on people to take to the streets to commemorate a similar movement for change a year ago.
Since then, several protests have been held, mainly in the governorates of Giza and Beni Suef. Images posted on social media showed demonstrators holding placards and chanting slogans against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Aly accuses Sissi of building lavish palaces while taxpayers grapple with the impact of austerity under an IMF loan program totaling $12 billion.
How did the government handle the protests?
In response to protests, authorities launched the “biggest crackdown” under el-Sisi’s rule, rights watchdog Amnesty International said, rounding up more than 2,300 people.
In recent days, security has been visibly stepped up, especially in Tahrir Square — the epicenter of the 2011 popular revolt that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
That iconic location was key to last week’s demonstrations, which broke out after a football match with protesters chanting “leave, Sissi!” and accusing him of heading a “military regime.”
Meanwhile, some Egyptian activists have warned of the danger protesting poses to the lives of demonstrators, given what they called a tight grip on security by authorities.
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