Over 350 arrested in protests against al-Sisi in Egypt
Hundreds of protesters took to streets across Egypt on Sunday to protest against President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s rule after a 6-year ban on demonstrations ended in the country.
Iran Press/ Africa: Over 350 people have been arrested across Egypt in the latest wave of demonstrations against Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, according to a Cairo-based non-governmental organization.
In a statement, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) said 356 people have been arrested since protests began on Friday 20 September, Iran Press reported.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in central Cairo and several cities on Friday against al-Sisi, a former army general who came in power in 2014 after a military coup which ousted the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.
Friday's protest across Egypt was the first such protest in many years, in defiance of a de facto six-years ban on demonstrations. Those who came out to call openly for an end to Sisi’s rule risked immediate arrest as well as the use of teargas, rubber bullets, and live rounds.
Riot police and security forces surrounded Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Saturday evening, to prevent potential demonstrators from accessing the symbolic site.
But in the north-eastern city of Suez, crowds of protesters chanted against the president before being broken up by a wave of teargas, live rounds, and arrests.
Arrest data shows that protesters were either too young to fully partake in the 2011 uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, or is part of an older generation less accustomed to demonstrations.
The number of arrests in Cairo on Saturday overwhelmed the capacity of all nearby police stations, with detainees being housed in a barracks meant for Egypt’s central security forces.
From there, detainees are taken in groups for questioning by the police as well as Egypt’s national security agency, both known for their use of 'systematic, widespread enforced disappearances and torture that most likely amount to crimes against humanity', according to Human Rights Watch.
Protests looked set to continue with president al-Sisi on a trip to New York where he was due to give a speech on “preserving world peace and security as well as fighting terrorism” at the UN general assembly. His absence underlines a dilemma facing Egyptian security forces at home, who are under pressure to contain demonstrators without using excessive force.