In Summary
  • In a rare show of dissent, hundreds of Egyptians poured through the streets of Cairo late Friday, chanting slogans including "Leave, Sisi!" and demanding the "fall of the regime".
  • The protests came on the back of an online call posted by Mohamed Aly, a disgruntled exiled Egyptian businessman, demanding Sisi be toppled.
  • The construction contractor has been posting videos from Spain that have gone viral since early September, accusing Sisi and the military of rampant corruption.

CAIRO,

Security forces on Saturday maintained tight control in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt's 2011 revolution, after protests in several cities calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

In a rare show of dissent, hundreds of Egyptians poured through the streets of Cairo late Friday, chanting slogans including "Leave, Sisi!" and demanding the "fall of the regime".

At least 74 people were arrested after clashes between the crowds and police in the capital, a security source told AFP.

On Saturday, security forces were deployed in force in Tahrir Square and plain clothed agents patrolled sidestreets of downtown Cairo.

"REVOLUTION"

The protests came on the back of an online call posted by Mohamed Aly, a disgruntled exiled Egyptian businessman, demanding Sisi be toppled.

He upped the pressure on Saturday in an expletive-filled video, imploring Egyptians to join in a "million-man march" next Friday and to fill all "major squares" of the country.

"I was also surprised like you by your turnout on the streets," he said, in a direct appeal to his online followers posted on his Facebook page.

"This is a people's revolution... We have to link up together as one... and organise going down to the major squares," Aly said.

GRAFT CLAIMS

The construction contractor has been posting videos from Spain that have gone viral since early September, accusing Sisi and the military of rampant corruption.

The president flatly denied the allegations last week at a youth conference and sought to assure Egyptians that he "was honest and faithful" to his people and the military.

But Egyptians heeded Aly's calls to take to the streets on Friday after a highly-charged football match between Cairo powerhouses Al Ahly and Zamalek.

"I think it's safe to say that the events of the past few weeks, including the development last night, pose the most serious legitimacy crisis facing Sisi," Nael Shama, a Cairo-based political analyst, told AFP.

"No one shouted bread, freedom, social justice like in 2011, they escalated straight to 'Leave' from the first minute," Shama noted.

UNPRECEDENTED

Thousands shared footage on social media documenting the demonstrations, which sprang up in several cities, including sizeable crowds blocking traffic in Alexandria, Al-Mahalla, Damietta, Mansoura and Suez.

Shama, who wrote a book on Egypt's foreign policy, said the "totally organic" nature of the small-scale protests was "unprecedented".

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