Dozens of Egyptian activists arrested in coffee shop raids

Dozens of Egyptian activists arrested in coffee shop raids
Dozens of Egyptian activists were arrested Thursday night in multiple security raids on coffee shops across Cairo, ahead of a planned protest on 25 April.
3 min read
22 April, 2016
Activists were arrested from coffee shop across Cairo [Kim Badawi/Getty]

Egyptian security services on Thursday night launched multiple raids on coffee shops across Cairo, arresting dozens of activists who have called for protests on 25 April.

Scores of leftist activists, members of Egypt's 6 April youth movement and journalists have been reportedly arrested in raids on downtown Cairo coffee shops, after calls for protests on the 34th anniversary of the liberation of Sinai.

The raids come hours after the Egyptian presidency denied reports that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with security chiefs and complained about their leniency in dealing with demonstrations held last Friday.

One activist who wished to remain anonymous told The New Arab that the security raids on activists confirm Sisi's desire to quell all forms of protest at any cost.

Numerous Egyptian social media users said that police raids have also targeted coffee shops in other Cairo neighbourhoods, such as Shubra and Heliopolis, in addition to raids in the coastal city of Alexandria in the north.

Some took to Twitter to warn activists of various security checkpoints that have been set up on a number of Cairo streets in search of youth activists.

Thousands of angry Egyptians rallied across the country last Friday to call for "the downfall of the regime", in the largest anti-government protests in two years, bringing back memories of the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

The street protesters chanted the famous slogan of the Arab Spring, demanding the fall of the government, and cried out "leave, leave!" directed at general-turned-president Sisi for his decision last week to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

The first significant wave of street protests since Sisi became president in 2014, following a military coup against Egypt's first elected president Mohammad Morsi, however, were more than a nationalistic outburst of anger over what many felt was a humiliating territorial sell-off.

Many Egyptians have grown tired of what they see as Sisi's heavy-handedness, condescending speeches and failure to achieve any significant progress in the country, which has witnessed an alarming decline in human rights compounded by a tattered economy - the same issues that led to Mubarak's downfall.

Sisi's 22-month rule has seen an increase in police brutality, corruption, unemployment and poverty to levels worse than under Mubarak rule while the country's schools, hospitals and other public bodies continue to crumble.

The pent-up frustrations of Egyptians also have finally boiled over towards their President's clumsy mishandling of a series of much reported international crises from the farcical investigation into the killing of Regeni, to the alleged bomb that brought down a Russian airliner over Sinai last year.