Protesters called out "Sisi hau", security forces used tear gas: In Egypt, it came for the first time in years to major protests against the leadership of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Hundreds of people called for the overthrow of the president late Friday evening, as videos on social networks showed.
Opposition media reported demonstrations in central Tahrir Square in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Mansura. In Cairo, several protesters were arrested by the police, the independent website Mada Masr reported. Tahrir Square was the scene of weeks of mass protests eight years ago, helping to remove long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak from office.
Under al-Sisi, who came to power after a coup against Mubarak's late successor Mohamed Mursi and has ruled since 2013, protests and criticism are largely suppressed. Thousands of Islamists, government opponents, bloggers and activists were arrested and sometimes tried in courts.
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The human rights organization Human Rights Watch called on the leadership in Egypt not to prevent peaceful protests. The authorities should immediately release all detainees. Al-Sisi's security forces have again used brutal methods to minimize peaceful protests, said Human Rights Watch Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director Michael Page. "The authorities should realize that the world is watching and taking every step to prevent a recurrence of earlier atrocities."
The ex-Egyptian contractor and actor Mohammed Ali was called to the protests last week. In several videos, which he had published on his Facebook page, he accused the President and the Egyptian army corruption. Ali himself had worked for 15 years with the Egyptian army. The President has rejected the allegations.