Egypt's Sisi warns against 'deceitful' calls to protest
Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi spoke on Friday morning after returning to Cairo from New York, where he was attending the UN General Assembly.
He stressed that there was no cause for concern over protests against his rule that are planned for later in the day.
"There are no reasons for concern. Egypt is a strong country thanks to Egyptians," he told reporters with a smile, shortly after his return from the UN General Assembly in New York.
Rare protests against Sisi's rule erupted last week in Cairo and other major cities, prompting a crackdown that has seen nearly 2,000 arrests, according to Human Rights Watch.
They were triggered by viral videos from exiled Egyptian businessman Mohamed Ali accusing the president of building lavish palaces while taxpayers grapple with the impact of austerity under an IMF loan programme totalling $12 billion.
In defiance of a years-long ban on demonstrations, Ali has called for further protests on Friday in Egyptian cities, where security forces have stepped up their presence in recent days.
"The case does not deserve all" this attention, Sisi said. "It is an attempt to create an image that is absolutely not real," he added, without elaborating on this point.
"Do not listen to what they say. Do not believe them," he urged, without naming those responsible for calling the protests against him.
Last Friday, rare protests calling for Sisi to step down erupted in Cairo and several provinces.
The security forces retaliated with a wave of over 2,000 arrests, including political activists and journalists. Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab