An Egyptian businessman and actor Mohamed Ali has inspired revolt against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. People in thousands of numbers gathered in different cities for second week on Friday demanding resignation from the president after the businessman accused him of money embezzlement.
People participating in the protests chanted, “rise up, fear not, Sisi must go” and “the people demand the regime’s fall”
A large number of videos of the protests were shared on social media, as massive protests took place in the capital Cairo.
The capital city’s Tahrir Square, where iconic demonstrations were held in 2011 which toppled the Hosni Mubarak’s government, was barricaded. Police fired teargases and water canon on the demonstrators approaching the square. More than 2,000 arrests were also made on this occasion, Al-Jazeera reported.
Mohamed Ali, accusing el-Sisi of irregularities in public funds, had called on people to take to the streets and demand his removal. While, the president has dismissed the allegations of corruption as lies.
“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 had said in a video posted on Tuesday.
He began his campaign against the Egyptian dictator on Sept 2. His videos have been seen thousands of times.
In a post on Friday he had encouraged protestors to stand strong and continue demanding their rights.
“God is great … enough already, I want to come back to Egypt. I miss Egypt and my people. May God strengthen your resolve,” he had said.
An Al-Jazeera’s analyst said he believed that the recent demonstrations represented a different level of momentum among Egyptians.
“What is happening in Egypt now is a long overdue movement … to rid the country from tyranny,” he said.
Since the dictator’s coming into power poverty has risen despite economic austerity measures introduced by him. According to official statistics, released in July, one in three Egyptians lives in poverty.
A professor at Long Island University, Dalia Fahmy said Friday’s protests were very different from the ones in 2011. She wondered over how people broke the barrier of fear but said that it was expected of them.
“If we look at the population today, of a hundred million people the average age is 23. Now if you subtract eight which was when the revolution happened, it means the average age was 15,” she said.
“When you have much of the population that doesn’t live with the post-revolution trauma or memories, you have a group of young people coming in with a different set of demands and different kinds of understanding of a future possibility. So those on the streets today are very different from the ones that were there eight years ago.”