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'Only dozens' attend rally for Egypt's sole presidential opponent

Moussa Mustafa Moussa endorsed Sisi before registering as a candidate [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 March, 2018

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Only a few dozen people attended a rally in support of Moussa Mustafa Moussa, the sole candidate running against Sisi and a government supporter on Saturday.
Only some three dozen people attended a rally in support of the sole candidate running against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, AP reported.

The rally for Moussa Mustafa Moussa - a figure hand-picked by the president and who embarassingly endorsed Sisi before registering as a candidate at the eleventh hour - lasted about one hour.

But despite the low turn out, the rally hosted a stronger showing than Moussa's last event where not a single person showed up.

Sisi is virtually guaranteed to win a second term during Egypt's elections scheduled for 26-28 March after sidelining or arresting at least five major candidates.

The most serious challengers to Sisi's rule were former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and former army chief of staff Sami Anan. Both were rumoured to command considerable support among Egypt's officer corps.

Cairo has sentenced hundreds to death, and tens of thousands remain behind bars. Most are members of outlawed Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, but journalists, secularists and other groups have also been targeted.

On Thursday, the UN human rights chief said there was a “pervasive climate of intimidation” in Egypt in the run-up to this month’s presidential elections.

In an annual report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said “potential candidates have allegedly been pressured to withdraw, some through arrests”.

“Legislation prevents candidates and supporters from organising rallies. Independent media have been silenced, with over 400 media and NGO websites completely blocked,” he continued.

Cairo hit back at the claims, dismissing the comments as “baseless allegations”.

Since 2013, Egyptian authorities have sentenced hundreds to death and arrested tens of thousands of people following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.

Sisi has overseen the crackdown and the regime he oversees is highly sensitive to any perceived public or private criticism of the government.


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