Egypt: Dozens arrested as anti-Sisi protests continue for third day
Egyptian security forces detained at least 150 people over their participation in anti-government protests on the anniversary of the 20 September anti-corruption movement, launched by the self-exiled whistleblower Mohamed Ali.
Meanwhile, protests in several villages continued for the third day on Tuesday evening, calling on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to step down.
According to videos posted on social media by Ali and activists supporting his calls, hundreds took part in demonstrations in Cairo, Giza, Fayoum, Al-Minya, Luxor and Aswan and chanted slogans calling for Sisi’s departure.
The protests, although small in size, were significant due to the government’s ban on protests and crackdown on all forms of dissent.
Ali also called for a "day of anger" protest on Friday to demand Sisi to leave.
Ali, now based in Spain, ignited rare protests in September last year, triggered by videos exposing corruption by the president and his entourage.
Ali, the previous owner of an Egyptian construction company, claimed to have witnessed corruption by Sisi during years of cooperation with the army in the implementation of a large number of construction projects.
This time, Ali had asked Egyptians to participate in protests on Sunday, to demonstrate against commodity price hikes and the ongoing demolition of houses constructed without licensing or on farmland.
The demolition campaign had reportedly affected hundreds of thousands of low-income Egyptians, who were facing either eviction or paying a fine to reconcile with the state.
Video of a protest in Berqash village, Giza, 22 September 2020.
A protest in al-Shenaweya village, Beni Suef governorate, 22 September 2020.
A protest in al-Ayyat village, Giza, 22 September 2020.
A protest in al-Warraq Island, Giza, 22 September 2020.
A protest in al-Kiddaya village in Giza, 22 September 2020
A human rights lawyer said on Tuesday that at least 150 people were currently in custody over participation in the protests. They were facing charges of “joining a terrorist group”, “broadcasting false news”, “misusing social media” and illegal protesting, and had all been added to case number 880/2020.
Last year, at least 4,000 people were arrested for showing support for a new popular movement triggered by Ali's video testimonies, according to Amnesty International.
Sisi's government is accused of holding tens of thousands of political prisoners in jails on trumped-up charges.
Human Rights Watch said that Sisi's reign had witnessed the country’s worst crackdown on human rights in its modern history.