Egypt security forces detain son of Muslim Brotherhood leader amid widespread pro-democracy protests

Egypt security forces detain son of Muslim Brotherhood leader amid widespread pro-democracy protests
Egyptian security forces detained the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader on Friday, as widespread pro-democracy protests erupted across the country.
3 min read
21 September, 2019
Saad el-Katatni was arrested after Sisi seized power from the country's first-democratically elected leader [Getty]
The son of Egypt’s former parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni was arrested by security forces on Friday for allegedly attempting to organise a rally against President Abdelfattah el-Sisi, amid widespread protests in the country, 

Zia al-Katatni, aged 22, was detained in front of a gym in Egypt’s Giza governorate and taken to an undisclosed location, Egyptian media reported.

The arrest came as angry demonstrations erupted in the vicinity of Tahrir Square in the heart of the Egyptian capital, Cairo on Friday evening before the contagion of protests spread to a number of governorates.

Hundreds of demonstrations took place in major squares in Alexandria and Suez. 

Video clips on social media showed that the chants were loudly demanding the overthrow of the regime and the departure of Sisi.

In scenes reminiscent of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, protesters were filmed ripping down a banner displaying the image of the Egyptian President in Mansoura, before stamping on the poster. 

The demonstration came in response to calls for protests by a self-exiled Egyptian businessman who recently claimed large-scale corruption by the military and government.

Security forces attempted to break up the gathering in Cairo, with skirmishes taking place between police and protesters in the roads leading up to Tahrir Square.

Tear gas was deployed by police in the roads leading to the square to disperse protesters who were chanting anti-Sisi slogans, according to The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

A number of protesters were also arrested on by police, who reportedly bundled them into vans. Security forces were reportedly able to close all entrance points to Tahrir Square by 9:30pm local time.

Police sources said "dozens" of young men were arrested for their participation in the protests. Egypt outlawed all unauthorised protests in 2013 when Sisi, as defence minister, led the military's overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president amid mass protests against his brief rule.

Friday's unrest followed a call to action by real estate developer Mohamed Ali - an army-linked contractor who has released dozens of videos levelling serious accusations of corruption and embezzlement against Sisi and senior Egyptian officials.

Egyptians voicing upset over the claims that Sisi had used government funds to build several luxurious residences for himself caused the hashtag #ThatsEnoughSisi to skyrocket in popularity, garnering more than a million tweets in its first 24 hours.

By late on Friday, the Arabic-language hashtags #Tahrir Square and #SisiGo were among the top four popular trends worldwide on Twitter.

In a YouTube video posted early on Saturday in Egypt, Ali called on Defence Minister Mohamed Zaki to arrest the president, who is currently in New York for the UN General Assembly.

"Please, your honor, issue an order to arrest Mr. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi... I hope that you side with the Egyptian people," Ali said in the video addressing the defence minister.

Calls for Egyptians to take to the streets reportedly caused fear within Sisi's regime, which has kept a tight lid on demonstrations since its troops killed more than 1,000 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in the 2013 Rabaa massacre.

Meanwhille, Sisi reportedly considered cancelling the New York trip over fears that unrest would spill over in his absence, according to government sources.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab