On September 20th, small-scale protests took place across Egypt demanding President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to step down.
Crowds primarily gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the evening of September 20th and in the early hours of September 21st.
MSM reports paint a very one-sided picture of the protests, claiming that “the tyrant” el-Sisi needs to go, propagating small-scale protests, organized by a questionable self-exiled construction magnate and actor, turned activist – Mohamed Ali.
— إسلام محمد (@EslamMu7) September 20, 2019
In a video on Twitter protesters shouted “The People want to topple the regime,” which it closely resembles the chants of the 2011 Arab Spring, but at a much smaller scale.
— ZaidBenjamin الحساب البديل (@ZaidBenjamin5) September 20, 2019
Police attempted to disperse the protesters by firing tear gas. There were also unconfirmed reports that police were using violent attacks to quell protests.
“No deaths, but I saw about 20-25 people arrested and held in police trucks. Some were released later. Currently downtown is full of riot police and plain-clothes policemen,” a Middle East Eye correspondent told the outlet.
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) September 21, 2019
These demonstrations appear quite orchestrated, as they came after calls by self-exiled Egyptian businessman and actor Mohamed Ali accused President el-Sisi and his government of corruption and called for people to take to the streets.
El-Sisi denied all allegations of misappropriation of funds.
“If el-Sisi does not announce his resignation by Thursday, then the Egyptian people will come out to the squares on Friday in protest,” Ali said in a video posted on Twitter.
Mohamed Ali has been exquisitely active on his Twitter, spurting a massive propaganda storm, showing el-Sisi as a tyrant, walking among ruins, similarly to how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues being presented in MSM. Naturally, that is simply a coincidence.
In a more recent video, Ali played the victim, despite him exiling himself to Spain, rather than being sent there by “the regime.”
— أسرار محمد علي – Mohamed Ali Secrets (@MohamedSecrets) September 20, 2019
“God is great … enough already, I want to come back to Egypt. I miss Egypt and my people. May God strengthen your resolve,” he said.
Human Rights Watch said that since el-Sisi secured a second term in 2018, “his security forces have escalated a campaign of intimidation, violence, and arbitrary arrests against political opponents, activists.”
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aloáin expressed their “grave concern” over “freedom of expression” in Egypt, with the “regime” having blocked access to dozens of websites.
And Egypt is, indeed, in a crisis, but it is unclear whether it is due to el-Sisi’s “tyranny” or due to the fact that massive resources need to be allocated in fighting the rampant terrorism in the region, especially in the Sinai Peninsula.
The destabilization of Egypt is a worrisome prospect, as it is one of the key fighters (if not the premier) against terrorism in the region. A political and social crisis in the country would mean a harsh destabilization that would not only impact Egypt but every country in the region in which terrorists are active.
The suddenness of the protests, in a country in which the last protest took place in 2013 further raises some questions, as well as the similarities of other protests taking place right now. Venezuela and Hong Kong come to mind, as the active hot spots of similar sudden “democratic activism.”