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Egypt claims to have released detainees from clampdown on anti-regime protests

Egyptian protesters have taken to the streets calling for the removal of President Sisi [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 1 October, 2019

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Egypt's interior ministry reportedly ordered the release of 'dozens' of detainees who had not yet been referred to the public prosecution.
Egypt's Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfiq reportedly ordered the release of those detained during a clampdown on anti-regime protests in September, Egyptian security sources said Monday.

The interior ministry ordered the release of dozens of detainees who had not yet been referred to the public prosecution, the sources added.

It followed a rare outbreak of protests that had demanded the ouster of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, following a cruel years' long crackdown on dissent in Egypt.

The unreferred detainees were being held in security camps in Cairo and several police stations in Alexandria, Suez, and other cities.

According to the sources, this group of detainees was left to the discretion of the interior ministry because the security services did not hold enough information on them.

On Friday, thousands of Egyptians took to the streets to protest against Sisi's regime in Giza, Alexandria, Qena, Luxor, Minya, Sohag and parts of Cairo.

Dubbed "Friday of Salvation" by online activists, the protests mark the second week in a row Egyptians have made rare public demonstrations against the government currently marred by allegations of vast corruption, highlighted a rogue military contracter.

Protesters took to the streets despite a vast security campaign deployed last week, which has so far arrested over 2,070 people suspected of taking part in the demonstrations.

As predicted, the demonstrations have been met with push-back from the regime, with reports security forces have used tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Egyptian businessman-turned-viral video sensation Mohamed Ali has led calls for protests from his self-imposed exile in Spain.

He accuses Sisi of corruption and lavish spending, which he claims he witnessed while working on government projects.

In his latest video on Monday evening, he called on Egyptians to hold protests on Tuesday afternoon against Sisi.

Former military contractor Ali became "more popular than Netflix" in Egypt this month after releasing a series of videos alleging the Sisi regime squandered billions on lavish palaces and army residences, while a third of the Egyptian population live in poverty.

The scandal has been dubbed "Palacegate". Autocrat Sisi acknowledged that he had been building palaces but said he was constructing them for the Egyptian state rather than himself, a claim not believed by many Egyptians.

In a Facebook post yesterday, he also said that he would pay more attention to the conditions of the "poor" in Egypt.


Agencies contributed to this report. 

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