09/24/2019, 10.04
EGYPT
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Egypt, wave of arrests after protests: more than 500 people detained

Among those arrested were Mahinour el-Masry, a celebrated human rights lawyer. The police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. Behind the demonstrations the Egyptian entrepreneur in exile Mohamed Ali, who accuses al-Sisi of corruption. "March of one million" announced for September 27

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In recent days the Egyptian authorities have arrested over 500 people, who have taken to the streets in several cities in the country to protest against the government and President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

The President met his US counterpart yesterday Donald Trump receiving Washington’s support. Activists of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (Ecesr), state "according to the latest estimates" the number of citizens detained "is 516, in Cairo and in other centers".

The demonstrations began on the evening of 20 September last, when hundreds of demonstrators challenged the prohibitions imposed by the authorities and poured into the streets of the capital and other cities such as Alexandria, Damietta and El-Mahalla El-Kubra.

The famous Tahrir square in Cairo was among the symbolic places chosen for the protest. The demonstrators called for more freedom and rights and the expulsion of the president, in recent days in New York for the UN General Assembly.

The police immediately intervened to disperse the protesters, using tear gas and making dozens of arrests. Several lawyers and activists placed in custody, including Mahinour el-Masry, taken on September 22 last by uniformed men got out of a van in front of the headquarters of the public prosecutor's office in Cairo. Yesterday the judges extended the preventive detention order by 15 days.

Behind the new wave of demonstrations in Egypt there would be the hand of Mohamed Ali, a businessman in exile in Europe and for 15 years a collaborator of the army in various projects, which launched numerous appeals for protest using social networks. He accuses the president "who is trying to kill me" and several senior "corruption" officials. For September 27, the Egyptian entrepreneur has launched what he calls "the march of one million".

Egypt is in a state of alert following a series of bloody attacks that hit the country between 2016 and 2017, also targeting the Christian community. The authorities have introduced restrictive measures on the demonstrations following the expulsion of the former head of state, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Morsi.

To maintain control, stop the escalation of attacks by jihadist groups and Muslim extremists and guarantee security, the president strengthened the repression of dissent, violating - according to critics - the human and civil rights of the population. In fact, a large portion of the population - including the Christian component - welcomes the work of al-Sisi who in recent years has given more space to minorities by appointing the first Coptic Christian woman to governor and legalizing dozens of churches.

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