It is not a revolution, yet, but thousands of protesters returned to Egypt’s streets on Friday, using slogans from the 2011 uprising to voice their discontent with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Most of the anger was focused on the president’s recent decision to give King Salman of Saudi Arabia two uninhabited islands, Tiran and Sanafir, as a gift.
As the New York Times correspondent Kareem Fahim reported, thousands of protesters rallied outside the journalists’ syndicate in Cairo.
Video recorded by other journalists and activists showed that the chants there included, “They sold our land to Saudi Arabia!” “Down with military rule!” and “The people want the fall of the regime!”
Marchers nearby also called for the president to simply “Leave!” a demand issued to former President Hosni Mubarak from Tahrir Square in 2011.
The BBC’s Arabic service shared video of tear gas being fired at marchers earlier on Friday on Mostafa Mahmoud Street in the Cairo district of Mohandiseen.
One woman carried a poster dedicated to the memory of Giulio Regeni, an Italian researcher who was abducted and brutally murdered near Tahrir Square on Jan. 25, the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising.
An image shared by the April 6 Youth movement, one of the groups that helped mobilize support for the 2011 protests, showed a protester holding a placard that read: “#Egypt is not for sale.”
The same group — whose leaders have been jailed by Sisi’s government — also shared what it said was a photograph of a journalist being assaulted and detained by plainclothes police officers.
Unsanctioned street protests, which helped bring Sisi to power, were banned after he took office, meaning that the demonstrators risked arrest and jail terms. Across Egypt, police arrested at least 100 protesters in nine different provinces, including 17 journalists, a security source told Aswat Masriya, a local news site supported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
After one of the Cairo protest leaders, Khaled Ali, called for a new rally on April 25, the police initially agreed to let the demonstrators at the journalists’ syndicate disperse, according to Ahdaf Soueif, a prominent writer.
A short time later, however, Soueif reported via Twitter that tear gas was fired at the remaining protesters, and others were arrested as they left.
We're out, but people being picked up in whole area surrounding downtown.— Ahdaf Soueif (@asoueif) April 15, 2016
Lawyer's heading now for various police stations. Plus ca change. But the street is alive again.— Ahdaf Soueif (@asoueif) April 15, 2016