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The New Arab

Cry me a river: Sisi tears up during speech

The spontaneous flattery was apparently too much for Sisi to handle [YouTube]

Date of publication: 27 December, 2016

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Video: Egypt's al-Sisi has appeared to be on the verge of tears after an overzealous army official shouted out praise for the president while he was giving a speech.
Egypt's president had an emotional moment while giving a speech at an event celebrating the expansion of a military-owned company.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appeared to be on the verge of tears on Saturday after an overzealous attendee shouted out praise for the general turned president while he was giving the speech.

"With your sincere devotion we will be able to do good things for Egyptians, who are - and I swear to you I am not talking in a political or figurative sense...," Sisi told the room of military officials dressed in fatigues.

When an off-camera serviceman cut him off, calling out: "We love you president! We are with you!"

The spontaneous flattery was too much for Sisi to handle.

The president then had to take a full 22 seconds to regain his bearings, closing his eyes and taking a series of deep breaths, holding back his tears, as the audience broke out into applause.

Sisi, who once enjoyed widespread public backing, has been facing mounting criticism in recent months over a failing economy, rising prices and widespread reports of police abuse.

The former military chief, who overthrew his Islamist predecessor in 2013, has been prone to emotional outbursts during his long-winded unscripted public addresses and army events.

Egyptians have been quick to take to social media to poke fun at the Sisi's latest emotional moment, using the Arabic-language hashtag #SisiCrys.

"If Sisi's crying over us, what should we be doing? Has it gotten that bad," said one Twitter user.

But pro-government media have rushed to the defence of the president.

Talk show host Amani al-Khayyat called on people to refrain from mocking "sensitive" Sisi, adding that the difficult economic circumstances were a "divine test".

"What we are experiencing is a trial from God so that we come back to our faith and stop pretending to believe. We must not complain about prices and not be so greedy that we eat three meals a day," Khayyat said.

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