Following online calls by exiled Egyptian construction contractor Mohamed Ali, the level of unrest in Cairo saw a significant increase. Mr. Ali and others had called for a ‘million man march’ which, if realized, would have been similar to the one that was last seen during the uprising of 2011. The large gathering, however, did not occur due in large part to the uptick in a police action that was witnessed on the streets and a large number of arrests. The arrests are the most the country has seen since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in June 2014.
Even though the mass gathering did not take place one could see many Egyptian people in the eastern neighborhood of Cairo, who were waving flags, in support for President Sisi. This was most likely a state-backed demonstration, and many of the so-called ‘supporters’ were state employees from different provinces around the city. The supporters reported being pressured and claimed that they had been transported to the march by buses, according to an article published on an Arabic website.
Fear of arrest has been a motivating factor amongst many who decided not to protest, but it’s not the only reason by a longshot. Most Egyptians are fed up following many years of economic and political uncertainty. The state-sponsored media have latched on to the fears of the people and have accused ‘foreign entities’ and ‘the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood’ of bringing unrest and descent. The government press has also tried to blame ‘foreign agents’ and ‘traitors’ from within Egypt, claiming that they are seeking to help the ‘evil Muslim Brotherhood‘ in it’s stated mission to ‘destroy Egypt.’
Hosts on TV have tried to suggest that delegitimate social media accounts have fueled the anti-Sisi hashtags that have been trending online in the past days. By far the most popular of those hashtags have been #Enough_Sisi and #Sisi_Leave.
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