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

Security forces on Saturday maintained tight control in Cairo's Tahrir Square after protests in several cities calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, AFP reports.

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

At least 74 people were arrested after clashes between the crowds and police in the capital, a security source told AFP.

Tahrir Square was the center of Egypt's 2011 revolution in which former President Hosni Mubarak was deposed.

On Saturday, security forces were deployed in force at the square and plain clothed agents patrolled side streets of downtown Cairo, according to AFP.

The protests came on the back of an online call posted by Mohamed Aly, a disgruntled exiled Egyptian businessman, demanding Sisi be toppled.

He upped the pressure on Saturday in an expletive-filled video, imploring Egyptians to join in a "million-man march" next Friday and to fill all "major squares" of the country.

The construction contractor has been posting videos from Spain that have gone viral since early September, accusing Sisi and the military of rampant corruption.

Sisi flatly denied the allegations last week at a youth conference and sought to assure Egyptians that he "was honest and faithful" to his people and the military.

Under the rule of general-turned-president Sisi, 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.

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.

Since becoming president in 2014, Sisi has been dealing with the Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, where the local Islamic State (ISIS) affiliate has carried out countless terrorist attacks.

Egyptian forces have since February of 2018 been waging a sweeping operation against the local affiliate of the Islamic State group in the restive North Sinai province.