September 23, 2019

LET MY PEOPLE GO:

Egypt protests came as a total shock. The man behind them is just as surprising (VIVIAN YEE, NADA RASHWAN, 9/23/19, SBS)

The apparent trigger for the demonstrations was almost as unexpected: Mohamed Ali, a 45-year-old construction contractor and part-time actor who said he got rich building projects for the Egyptian military and then left for Spain, where he began posting videos on social media accusing el-Sissi of corruption and hypocrisy.

When the protests erupted, it was at the time and date Ali had urged from afar.

But the extent, and durability, of Ali's out-of-nowhere influence remains to be seen. His surge from obscurity to prominence has also raised questions about whether his sudden fame has been helped along by powerful interest groups inside or outside the government.

On Saturday evening, about 200 protesters in the Red Sea city of Suez were met with police officers firing rubber bullets, according to posts on social media and a witness.

The test of how deep Ali's influence is could come as soon as this week. In a video posted Saturday evening, Ali called for a new round of protests to take place this coming Friday.

Since coming to power in a 2013 military takeover, el-Sissi has cemented his hold through harsh repression.

Posted by at September 23, 2019 12:00 AM

  

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