Egypt bolsters security presence fearing 'day of rage' protests
Viral YouTube whistleblower Mohammed Ali, whose company was allegedly contracted by the regime to build extravagant residences for the president and armed forces, called on Egyptians on Thursday to take to the streets on Friday evening to show their opposition to the regime's graft.
He also called on the defence minister to arrest Sisi.
The army deployed dozens of armoured vehicles in the capital and along the surrounding roads, as well as in the vicinity of the presidential palace in the upscale suburb of Heliopolis.
Security and police forces were also stationed across Cairo in a bid to deter any potential dissenters.
Sisi's regime has become notorious for its brutal repression of anyone deemed critical of it.
The slogan synonymous with the Arab Spring protests, #the_people_demand_the_fall_of_the_regime, became Egypt's top trending hashtag on Thursday following Ali's viral videos that he began releasing on 2 September.
Ali also alleges the government owes him hundreds of millions of pounds for projects his company was commissioned to build, including luxurious palaces for Sisi.
Many are sceptical that the millions participating in the online furore following Ali's videos will materialise as demonstrations on the street, however the level of online dissent has not been witnessed in years.
On Friday, another call for protest, #Friday_of_rage became among the top trends on Twitter globally, with people posting photos of Egypt's 2011 uprising alongside comments such as "let's do it again".
Fridays are traditionally days of mass protest in Arab and Islamic countries.
Alongside his video dispatches, Ali launched the hashtag #ThatsEnoughSisi, which was tweeted more than one million times, becoming the number one Twitter hashtag worldwide for two days in a row.
The prospect of mass protests on Friday have caused Sisi to consider cancelling his trip to the UN General Assembly in New York, scheduled for Saturday, so he can hold emergency meetings to quash the unrest, according to government sources.
The wave of criticism of the regime's mismanagement and corruption poses the biggest threat to Sisi’s rule since the protests following his coup that ousted Mohammed Morsi in 2013, high-level government sources have said.
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