Egyptian's defence of tuk-tuk driver over Sisi criticism goes viral
“Oh president of the Arab Republic of Egypt, you are scared of us that much?” asks a young Egyptian woman in a video criticising President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government over censorship and poverty.
The woman’s statements were in response to the restrictions on a video showing a tuk-tuk driver lamenting the state of the country, which has taken Egypt by storm. Twitter users have responded to the controversy with the hashtag #WhatHasSisiDoneForUs.
The tuk tuk driver's outburst was originally shown on Al-Hayat satellite channel last week and watched by millions on social media, but the Egyptian media outlet has since removed it from all its online platforms. Hayat also reported reposts of the video, prompting YouTube to take them down on copyrights grounds.
The woman, who has not been identified, complained that Egyptians are not allowed to show their dissatisfaction with the state of their country. She also slammed government supporters who have labelled the tuk-tuk driver as a member of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in an attempt to smear his reputation and undermine his views.
After the Egyptian military toppled Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests in 2013, it designated the Islamist group as a terrorist organisation. But the Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful political activism.
'The guy didn’t say anything wrong'
In her video, the woman backs the tuk-tuk driver, saying that he voiced thoughts that many Egyptians have longed to express without having the ability to speak out.
"The guy didn’t come out and say anything wrong. All he did was come out and say 'I want to eat, I want to drink.' The guy wants to live in peace, or more accurately, he wants to find food and drink, wants to find a bite, he wants to educate his children.
"And all of a sudden... after we had all felt that this guy had said a lot of things that we wanted to say but weren’t able to, we find the video has been removed."
The woman goes on to address the accusations and rumours about the tuk-tuk driver since his heartfelt comments had gone viral.
"And the amount of posts that keep coming out about this man and 'the truth about the tuk-tuk driver' saying that he belongs to a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group.
"Or that 'this guy is not a tuk-tuk driver, no, this guy is a science teacher and his father in law is a manager of a specialist school, and there are special forces that protect this school which is connected to the Muslim Brothers, and he was a member of the [Brotherhood's] Freedom and Justice Party!'
"All of this because the guy came out and said 'I want to eat and I want to drink?!'"
The woman then goes on to address Sisi directly, accusing the president of being so fearful of the Egyptian people that he had to force the removal of the video of the tuk-tuk driver.
The woman's video emerged in a trending Arabic hashtag #WhatHasSisiDoneForUs where other social media users expressed similar sentiments.
Pro-Sisi supporters also used the hashtag to defend the Egyptian president.
This woman's video comes in light of shocking footage showing a man burning himself in protest against rising gas and food prices in the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Alexanderia.