1 killed, hundreds arrested in anti-government protests in Egypt

The Day of Rage protests on September 25 saw thousands taking to the streets. Massive protests took place in Egypt over the week on the anniversary of similar protests in 2019

September 27, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
A slogan held up by protesters which says "Don't be afraid to say it: Sisi must go"

One protester was reported killed as thousands of people took to the streets of Egypt on Friday, September 25, demanding the resignation of president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The ‘Day of Rage’ was part of a series of protests over the week marking the first year of massive anti-government agitations. This week’s protests were also faced massive police brutality and repression. Demonstrations reportedly took place in the governorates of Giza, Al-Minya, Dameitta, Suez, Qalyoubia, Alexandria, Beni Sueif and Cairo. Many protests took place in smaller villages and towns as the government had stepped up security in the bigger cities.

Human rights organization Najda reported that in the al-Blida village in Giza governorate, the police killed 25-year-old Sami Wagdy Bashir while firing live ammunition at the protesters. Three other protesters also reportedly suffered bullet injuries during the police shooting. Many protesters were rounded up and put in detention during Friday’s protests, in addition to the close to 200 who had been arrested earlier.

Videos on social media showed police using tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Security forces also imposed curfews in several parts of the country to prevent the demonstrations from spreading further. In response, protesters in several cities and villages threw stones at the police and burnt tires to block the roads and the main highways.

Another major round of protests took place on Tuesday which saw many being arrested and facing charges such as “joining a terrorist group”, “broadcasting false news”, “misusing social media” and “illegal protesting.”

This year too, a call for protests was given by businessman and whistleblower Mohamed Ali. His call in 2019 was one of the factors that led tens of thousands to take to the streets. During last year’s anti-corruption protests, more than 4,000 people were arrested, according to human rights organizations. International human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called upon the al-Sisi regime to release all protesters who were arrested for taking part in last year’s demonstrations, with Human Rights Watch calling the crackdown one of the worst in modern history.

According to various human rights groups, there are currently more than 60,000 political prisoners being held in various Egyptian prisons, including lawyers, journalists, activists, writers, politicians, Muslim brotherhood members and supporters. The human rights group Committee for Justice has said that close to 1,000 prisoners have already died while in detention inside Egypt since July 2013 — when al-Sisi came to power. Most of those in jail are being detained without any charges or trial.