Egyptians are Calling for President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to Step Down
Protesters took to the streets of Suez and Cairo to demand that al-Sisi resign.
This past weekend, more than 200 protesters took to the streets in the port city of Suez and the Tahrir Sqaure in Cairo. The BBC reports that these protests are in response to a series of videos which were posted online by businessman and actor, Mohamed Ali, and showed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi allegedly spending state resources on luxury accommodation while the country struggles with poverty. While the protests continued well into yesterday, Al-Sisi has since dismissed the corruption allegations against him and referred to them as mere "slander and lies".
President al-Sisi took over from Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in a military coup six years ago. Since al-Sisi came to power, he has cracked down heavily on any political dissidents and issued a nationwide ban on protests. However, with rising costs that are a direct result of al-Sisi's 2016 decision to cut subsidies and implement tax reforms in order to reduce the country's deficit, these protests may be rare but not surprising.
Mohamad Elmasry, the chairperson of the media and journalism programme at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies spoke to Aljazeera and said that, "Millions of people have watched his videos, while his anti-Sisi hashtags have gone viral." Elmasry added that, "This is something that is a legitimate threat to the el-Sisi government - if it wasn't a legitimate threat, then el-Sisi wouldn't have come out and responded directly to Mohamed Ali at last week's youth conference."
Thus far, at least 220 have been arrested for participating in the protests as well as filming the events and posting them online, according to The Guardian.