Hundreds of protesters call for Egypt President Sisi to step down Sep 22, 2019 0 362 12345 AFPCairoProtests erupted overnight in Cairo and other Egyptian cities calling for the removal of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in a rare show of dissent quickly quashed by authorities. Hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets late Friday, chanting slogans including “Leave, Sisi!” and demanding the “fall of the regime”.At least 74 people were arrested, a security source said, with plain clothed police patrolling sidestreets of downtown Cairo.After overnight clashes with the protesters, security forces on Saturday maintained tight control of Tahrir Square -- the epicentre of the 2011 revolution that unseated long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.The country effectively banned protests under a 2013 law and a state of emergency is still in full effect.“I think it’s safe to say that the events of the past few weeks, including the development last night, pose the most serious legitimacy crisis facing Sisi,” Nael Shama, a Cairo-based political analyst, said.The protests came on the back of an online call put out by Mohamed Aly, a disgruntled exiled Egyptian businessman, demanding Sisi be toppled. The construction contractor has been posting videos from Spain that have gone viral since early September, accusing Sisi and the military of rampant corruption.The president flatly denied the allegations last week at a youth conference and sought to assure Egyptians that he “was honest and faithful” to his people and the military.In Aly’s latest video posted early Friday morning on his growing social media accounts, he urged Egyptians to head to the streets after a highly anticipated Super Cup football match between Cairo powerhouses Al Ahly and Zamalek.“No one shouted bread, freedom, social justice like in 2011, they escalated straight to ‘Leave’ from the first minute,” Shama noted. Thousands shared footage on social media documenting the demonstrations, which sprang up in several cities including sizeable crowds blocking traffic in Alexandria, Al-Mahalla, Damietta, Mansoura and Suez.Shama, who wrote a book on Egypt’s foreign policy, said the “totally organic” nature of the small-scale protests was “unprecedented”.“This is the first time people take to the streets in many years but I am not sure it will be the last,” he added. Under the rule of general-turned-president Sisi, authorities have launched a broad crackdown on dissidents, jailing thousands of Islamists as well as secular activists and popular bloggers.Sisi led the military ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and won back-to-back landslide elections after running virtually unopposed. RELATED ARTICLES Iran issues warning as US deploys troops to Saudi Arabia Sep 22, 2019 0 1585 Hong Kong police, protesters clash in 16th weekend of rallies Sep 22, 2019 0 649 Saudi vows response to oil attacks ‘aggression’ Sep 22, 2019 0 324 Somali pirates release Iranian held hostage since 2015 Nairobi: An Iranian held for more than four years by Somali pirates has been released, a humanitarian organization that helps hostages said on Saturday. Mohammad Sharif Panahandeh was a crew member on the FV Siraj, an .. Rights group urges restraint after protests against Sissi dpa Cairo An international rights group has called on Egyptian authorities to protect the right to peaceful protest and to immediately release those detained, hours after the country saw rare protests against .. Second drone downed in 48 hours over south Syria, says Damascus AFP Damascus A drone was shot down on Saturday in Quneitra province in southern Syria, the second such incident in 48 hours, state media said. Authorities “dismantled a drone” after it was shot down on the edge of Jaba .. Nigeria rejects United Nations report on violence Abuja: Nigeria on Friday rejected the findings of a UN report on violence in the country accusing it of simply blaming the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. “While we agree that the violence in Nigeria, or in any .. Ready for Syria operation ahead of Trump talks, says Turkey’s Erdogan Ankara: Turkey’s preparations on the border with Syria ahead of a possible operation have been completed, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday ahead of talks with US counterpart Donald Trump. “Our ..