Palacegate: Egypt's Mohamed Ali calls for new weekday protests
Exiled contractor Mohamed Ali published a video on Monday evening calling on Egyptians to hold protests on Tuesday afternoon against autocratic President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The regime critic said that it would be much more difficult for the Egyptian security forces to suppress these protests due to it being midweek and the capital being open for business.
Mohamed Ali, who fled Egypt to Spain earlier this year, ignited a protest movement in Egypt last month, when he revealed that President Sisi had contracted his company to build several luxurious palaces for himself using public money, coinciding with the government enforcing tough austerity measures on the public.
The scandal has been dubbed “Palacegate”. Sisi acknowledged that he had been building palaces but said he was building them for the Egyptian state rather than himself. In a Facebook post yesterday, he also said that he would pay more attention to the conditions of poor people in Egypt.
Ali had earlier called for protests to take place on Friday last week. While thousands of Egyptians turned out for anti-Sisi protests in several parts of the country, security forces arrested more than 2,000 activists in the run-up to Friday, which is a day off for most workers in Egypt, and closed roads leading up to Tahrir Square and other potential assembly points in Cairo, making protests in the Egyptian capital impossible.
In his latest video, Ali said that security forces couldn't close roads in the capital on a weekday afternoon, calling on working people to protest as soon as they left work and for university and school students to join them.
"We'll see if [the security forces] can stop the traffic in the middle of the day, or if they can close off all Egypt's squares," adding that the fact that Friday was holiday had played into the security forces’ hands.
Ali also took aim at Sisi's son, Mahmoud, who has become a powerful figure in Egyptian politics.
"Sisi is finished, his son Mahmoud is running the country so let's talk to him instead… you're going to harm your dad and your playing a losing game."
On Monday, reports emerged that Mahmoud, who is the undersecretary of Egypt's General Intelligence Agency, had issued a decree banning intelligence officers from travelling abroad pending an investigation into an alleged plot to overthrow President Sisi.
Ali had previously launched the Twitter hashtag #ThatsEnoughSisi to call on people to protest.
It quickly became the biggest hashtag in the world and was used over a million times.
In his latest video, Ali announced the launch of a new hashtag, #We’re_going_down_at_three_o’clock, which has started trending in Egypt, being used approximately 50,000 times in less than 24 hours.