Tear gas fired as rare protests break out in Egypt

Egyptians protest against President Fattah al-Sisi 21 September 2019 Share this with Facebook Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share this with Email Share this with Facebook Share this with WhatsApp Share this with Messenger Share this with Twitter Share Share this with These are external links and will open in a new…

Egyptians protest against President Fattah al-Sisi

Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square after corruption allegations were made against President Fattah al-Sisi Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hundreds of protesters filled Tahrir Square, a key site in Egypt’s 2011 revolution

Tear gas has been fired to disperse protesters in Egypt, at some of the first demonstrations since President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi took power in 2014.

Hundreds of Egyptians filled Tahrir Square in Cairo – a key site of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution – demanding his resignation.

Demonstrations also reportedly took place elsewhere around the country.

There have been some arrests, but other people remain on the streets.

The protests are in response to corruption allegations against President Sisi’s government.

An Egyptian businessman and actor, Mohamed Ali, has posted a series of videos online accusing the leader of wasting millions on luxury residences and hotels while millions of Egyptians live in poverty. Egypt has pursued a policy of economic austerity in recent years.

President Sisi has dismissed the allegations as “lies and slander”.

What’s happening in Egypt?

“Sisi out” and “The people want to overthrow the regime” topped Egyptian Twitter’s trending list late on Friday.

Hundreds of anti-regime protesters were in and around Tahrir Square despite efforts to disperse them.

Even a few days ago such scenes would have “unthinkable”, BBC correspondent Sally Nabil tweeted.

Demonstrations were also reported in Egypt’s second-largest city Alexandria and in Suez, according to Al Jazeera.

Mr Ali, who lives in self-imposed exile in Spain, posted his first video on 2 September. In a video posted on Tuesday, he reportedly said that if President Sisi did not resign by Thursday “the Egyptian people will come out to the squares on Friday in protest”.

In 2013, Mr Sisi led the military’s overthrow of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, following protests against his rule.

Since then, he has overseen what human rights groups say is an unprecedented crackdown on dissent that has led to the detention of tens of thousands of people.

Egyptians voted to approve constitutional changes in April that could extend Mr Sisi’s term in office until 2030, on a turnout of 44%.

He won 97% of the vote in 2018’s presidential election, when he faced no serious opposition.

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