Sisi says he would become a protester 'if it built Egypt'
Egypt's president has said that protests "do not build the country" after popular movements in neighbouring Sudan and Algeria toppled longtime autocrats.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made the comments at a speech on Sunday to inaugurate a series of tunnels linking the Sinai Peninsula to the Nile Delta.
"If protests built Egypt, I would go and stand in the street with Egyptians all day and night to build Egypt," Sisi said jokingly.
"No. The county is built with hard work… which we are doing and paying with blood to combat terrorism."
Sisi, as an army chief of staff, led the military overthrow of elected president Mohammed Morsi in 2013 following protests against the Islamist leader's rule.
Egypt has since banned all unauthorised protests and jailed thousands of dissidents. Sisi has often spoken out against demonstrations, saying they harm the "economy and stability".
Sisi has embraced painful austerity measures to revive an economy mauled by years of turmoil following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.
The comments come on the heels of uprisings that have forced veteran leaders in Algeria and Sudan to step down.