Egyptian security forces detain hundreds during anti-corruption ‘Palacegate’ protests

Egyptian security forces detain hundreds during anti-corruption ‘Palacegate’ protests
Egyptian legal sources revealed at least 650 people were still detained following protests against presidential corruption on Friday and Saturday.
2 min read
23 September, 2019
Hundreds of protesters were arrested by police and security forces [Getty]
Hundreds of people remain in detention in Egypt following anti-Sisi protests, the Arabic news website Arabi21 reported on Sunday.

The website quoted legal sources as saying that more than 650 people had been detained throughout the country, including 300 who had been presented to the State Security Prosecutors’ Office for investigations.

Lawyers involved in the investigations also said they had seen security forces detain award-winning lawyer Mahienour El-Massry on Sunday, who has been recognised for her defence of human rights.

She was arrested on Sunday after she left the New Cairo Court where she was attending investigations into protesters.

One lawyer told Arabi 21 that most of those arrested were not protesters but street vendors present in public squares, such as Tahrir Square in Cairo and Arbeen Square in Suez, while protests took place.

Thousands of people took part in protests against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Friday and Saturday, following the publication of online videos by construction contractor Mohamed Ali which said that Sisi had used public funds to build luxurious palaces for himself and his family.

The scandal has been dubbed 'Palacegate'.

Sisi did not deny the allegations but in a televised response to Ali last week that many Egyptians found unconvincing, the president said he was building palaces for the state, not for himself, and that he would continue to “build and build and build”.

In widely mocked commentary, pro-Sisi television channels told viewers last week that Egypt needed palaces because other countries also had palaces, claiming they were necessary for the country’s future posterity.

Meanwhile, in its first official comment on the protests against the government, the Egyptian presidency appeared to hold the world media responsible.

The presidency “renewed its reminder to correspondents and all media organisations to adhere to the professional standards of journalism and media agreed upon throughout the world”.

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