September 26, 2019
Over 1,900 arrested as Egypt braces for more demonstrations planned for Friday against rule of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi
Egyptian authorities have made it clear that they intend to use force to quell Friday’s planned demonstrations against the rule of the president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
Public dissent has been all but extinguished under the former army general, who swept to power in a military coup in 2013, making any form of protest extremely dangerous.
More than 1,900 people have been arrested since rare protests broke out last weekend, and on Thursday the ministry of the interior “affirmed that it will confront any attempt to destabilise the country with decisiveness”, according to local media.
Central Cairo was heavily guarded as riot police, vans of security officials and plainclothes police spread out along the network of streets surrounding Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt’s 2011 revolution.
The figures for the arrests were compiled by the Cairo-based NGO the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights. Bystanders and others who had little to do with the protests were reportedly detained along with the demonstrators, and those arrested were being held across the country.
Several prominent opposition figures have been detained, despite no indication that any were involved with the new wave of dissent.
The award-winning human rights lawyer Mahienour el-Massry was seized outside a Cairo courthouse where she was defending protesters. Days later, journalist and opposition politician Khaled Dawoud was arrested, as well as the political scientist Hassan Nafea and Hazem Hosny, a former spokesperson for the former military chief of staff Sami Anan, who remains in detention after attempting to run for president last year.