Dozens of Egyptians Join Second Day of Rare anti-Sissi Protest

Day after demonstrators took to the streets in central Cairo and other Egyptian cities over government corruption, witnesses say security forces use tear gas and live fire to disperse Suez crowd

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Combination of pictures created on September 22, 2019 shows confrontations between Egyptian security forces and protesters in al-Arbaeen Square in Suez.
Combination of pictures created on September 22, 2019 shows confrontations between Egyptian security forces and protesters in al-Arbaeen Square in Suez. Credit: AFP

Some 200 protesters clashed Saturday with Egyptian security forces in the coastal city of Suez, in the second day of rare demonstrations calling for the demise of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, BBC News in Arabic reported.

Eyewitnesses told BBC and other media outlets that forces used tear gas and live fire against the demonstrators and arrested about 50 of them.

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On Friday, hundreds took to the streets in central Cairo and several other Egyptian cities, responding to an online call for a demonstration against government corruption.

Protests have become very rare in Egypt following a broad crackdown on dissent under Sissi, who took power after the overthrow of the former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

Security forces moved to disperse the small and scattered crowds in Cairo using tear gas but many young people stayed on the streets in the center of the capital, shouting "Leave Sissi," Reuters reporters at the scene said.

Police arrested some of the demonstrators, witnesses said.

Small protests were also held Friday in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, Suez on the Red Sea as well as the Nile Delta textile town of Mahalla el-Kubra, about 110 km (68 miles) north of Cairo, according to residents and videos posted online.

There was a heavy security presence in downtown Cairo and on Tahrir Square where mass protests started in 2011 which toppled veteran ruler Hosni Mubarak.

State TV did not cover the incidents.

A pro-government TV anchor said only a small group of protesters had gathered in central Cairo to take videos and selfies before leaving the scene. Another pro-government channel said the situation around the Tahrir Square was quiet.

Mohamed Ali, a building contractor and actor turned political activist who lives in Spain, called in a series of videos for the protest after accusing Sissi and the military of corruption.

Last Saturday, Sissi dismissed the claims as "lies and slander."

Sissi was first elected in 2014 with 97 percent of the vote, and reelected four years later with the same percentage, in a vote in which the only other candidate was an ardent Sissi supporter. His popularity has been dented by economic austerity measures.

Ssisi's supporters say dissent must be quashed to stabilize Egypt, after a 2011 uprising and the unrest that followed, including an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that has killed hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians.

They also credit him with economic reforms agreed with the International Monetary Fund.