Rare anti-Sisi protests in Egypt after online call for dissent

Small but rare protests in Egypt after online call for dissent

Egyptians protest against President Fattah al-Sisi

"This is a very important development because this was the first such protest against the rule of el-Sissi", said political scientist Mustafa Kamel el-Sayed of Cairo University.

Egyptian protesters shout slogans as they take part in a protest calling for the removal of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo's downtown on September 20, 2019.

Videos of anti-government protests in Egypt have gone viral.

In the capital, Cairo, dozens of protesters gathered on Friday night near Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the 2011 pro-democracy uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

But Egyptians were spurred to the streets after calls on social media from Mohamed Ali, a former building contractor who worked with the country's military.

El-Sisi denied the allegations as "slander" last week.

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On Friday, security forces speedily dispersed the scattered protests, which came directly after a football game between al-Ahly, Egypt's biggest team, and their rivals Zamalek.

He confirmed that they didn't receive any reports of casualties by live or rubber bullets.

Egypt outlawed all unauthorized protests in 2013. "It is long past time for the human rights of Egyptian people to be put ahead of arms company profits".

The country effectively banned protests under a 2013 law and a state of emergency is still in full effect.

Footage showing anti-Sisi demonstrations in other cities, including Alexandria, Suez, Gharbiya and Mahala, Mansoura and Damietta, continued to surface online into the early hours of Saturday.

"No deaths, but I saw about 20 to 25 people arrested and held in police trucks".

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The demonstrations took place after Sisi traveled to NY for next week's United Nations General Assembly.

Dalia Fahmy, senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy in NY, said those on the streets on Friday were different from the crowds who took part in the 2011 protests that brought down Mubarak.

Analysts say the 64-year-old leader's popularity has weakened in recent years because of austerity measures and soaring poverty rates.

He, however, said the difference this time was the "spontaneity" of the protests, which occured "almost organically, with no political force behind it".

Almost one in three Egyptians live below the poverty line on less than $1.40 a day, according to official figures released in July.

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