Egypt arrests more than 1,000 after anti-Sisi protests

Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people in wake of rare protests calling for ouster of the President.

Elad Benari ,

Protesters shouting anti-government slogans in Cairo
Protesters shouting anti-government slogans in Cairo

Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people, two rights groups said Wednesday, in the wake of rare protests last week calling for the ouster of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, AFP reports.

The Egyptian Center for Freedoms and Rights said 1,003 had been arrested, while the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights reported the figure of 1,298 detained, according to the report.

Two prominent academics were also detained on Tuesday, a lawyer and a relative said.

Hazem Hosny, a Cairo University political science professor, was arrested on Tuesday night in front of his home, his lawyer Tarek al-Awadi said on his Facebook account.

French-educated Hosny was a spokesman for former Egyptian military chief of staff Sami Anan, who was detained after he attempted to run against Sisi in presidential elections last year.

The professor has been critical of Sisi on social media in recent days.

Hassan Nafaa, another prominent intellectual who teaches political science at Cairo University, was also detained from his home late Tuesday, family sources told AFP.

In a rare show of dissent, hundreds of Egyptians poured through the streets of Cairo on the weekend, chanting slogans including "Leave, Sisi!" and demanding the "fall of the regime".

Sisi led the military ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 and won back-to-back landslide elections after running virtually unopposed.

In April, Egypt's parliament overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments allowing Sisi to stay in power until 2030.

Under Sisi’s rule, authorities have launched a broad crackdown on dissidents, mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed and designated a terrorist organization in Egypt in December of 2013.

Last week's protests followed an appeal by Mohamed Aly, an exiled Egyptian businessman in Spain, to topple Sisi after accusing him of corruption.

Aly has called for fresh protests on Friday, according to AFP.

Asked about the protests in Egypt on Monday, Trump gave backing to Sisi and said, “I'm not concerned with it. Egypt has a great leader. He's highly respected. He's brought order. Before he was here, there was very little order. There was chaos. And so I'm not worried about that at all.”