More than 1,100 people have been arrested in Egypt since the weekend, when a series of massive protests erupted in several cities to demand resignation of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, human rights monitors say.
Gamal Eid, head of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, said on Wednesday that his own group and two others, namely the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, had jointly documented the arrests.
Mustapha Kamel Al Sayyid, a fellow professor at Cairo University, citing sources, said Hazem Hosny, a former spokesman for the short-lived 2018 presidential campaign of former chief of staff the armed force Sami Anan, was detained on Tuesday evening. Sayyid also said Hassan Nafaa, a prominent writer who also teaches at Cairo University, has been missing since Tuesday.
On Friday night and in defiance of a ban on protests, hundreds of people took to the streets in central Cairo and several other Egyptian cities to express their discontent with President Sisi, a former military general-turned politician, calling for his removal from power. The protests spread to the Red Sea city of Suez on Saturday.
Security forces moved in to disperse the scattered protests and have reinforced their presence in several cities. Some witnesses said plain-clothes security officials stopped people in central Cairo to check social media content on their phones.
The demonstrations began with an online call by exiled Egyptian businessman Mohamed Ali, who has accused Sisi of corruption. Ali has called for mass protests on September 27.
Also on Wednesday morning, the Arabic hashtag “Sisi is not my president” was trending with more than 40,000 tweets. Several Twitter hashtags have been used to rally support for the protests.
Human Rights Watch has urged the Egyptian authorities to “protect the right to peaceful protest.”