Egypt placed on 'high alert' ahead of planned protests

Egypt placed on 'high alert' ahead of planned protests
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
20 September, 2021
Egypt is on a 'state of high alert' after popular dissident Mohamed Ali urged Egyptians to take to the Nile to protest against the historic failings of the regime.
Self-exiled Egyptian businessman and dissident activist Mohamed Ali has been instrumental in organising the latest protest against the Al-Sisi regime [Getty Images]

Protests against the Egyptian regime are expected to take place late Monday with authorities placing the country under a state of high alert in anticipation of anti-government rallies, a security source has told The New Arab.   

Both uniformed security forces and plain-clothed officers have been deployed to each of the country's major squares and streets.

Security personnel have also been sent to the transportation system in a bid to stop suspected protesters, added the source on condition of anonymity.

State security officers have instructed the mayors in the south and rural areas to prevent any gatherings, the source said.

It comes after whistle-blower Mohamed Ali posted a video on YouTube 29 August calling on Egyptians to take to the streets on 20 September to protest what he described as the "failures" Egypt had witnessed under President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

The protests are expected to take place along Cairo's Nile River.

The two hashtags #September_20th_revolution_on_the_banks_of_the_River_Nile and #September_20th_We_are_all_hands have been trending on social media.

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Instructions for the protests, also revealed by Ali, have been posted alongside hashtags, asking protesters to wipe off data on their mobile phones and calling on protestors to walk along the Nile in collective solidarity.

"Nobody will prevent you from walking along the Nile…just take a walk," Ali said in the video.

"If all poor citizens decided to walk across the Nile in a single Egyptian province, they will shut it down," he said, a reference to Sisi's failure to stop Ethiopia filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which could lead to water shortages in Egypt.

Ali further called on citizens living in coastal cities to walk by the sea.

A joint operation room involving senior officers from the ministry of interior and Egypt's intelligence agencies has been following the situation, while a cybercrime division has been monitoring activities on social media. 

Local media outlets and satellite TV channels, mostly loyal to the regime, have been forbidden by the authorities from mentioning any possible protests or gatherings, while online trolls have been countering the calls for demonstrations via social media tools.

In 2013, the anti-protest law was ratified by interim President Adly Mansour, which banned gatherings and any protests without the prior written consent of the authorities. Since then, hundreds of activists were either detained or sentenced to prison in violation of the notorious law.