The international Human Rights Watch organization on Saturday appealed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for restraint as Egyptians poured into the streets in protest to demand his resignation.
Protests that began Friday continued into Saturday evening in cities across the nation, radiating from the mass protests at Tahrir Square in Cairo despite warnings from the government and tight control on protesters. There were multiple reports of security forces using tear gas but no confirmed casualties.
Local sources say dozens have been detained.
The AFP also reported the use of rubber bullets in Suez, according to witnesses there. At the same time, attention to Sisi’s record on human rights, always under scrutiny, was elevated as he arrived in the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly meetings.
Sisi is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, above, on Monday.
“President al-Sisi’s security agencies have time and again used brutal force to crush peaceful protests,” warned Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should recognize that the world is watching and take all necessary steps to avoid a repetition of past atrocities.”
HRW said the protests followed reports from Mohamed Ali, a former army contractor, who over the past two weeks has “published allegations of corruption within the army and of al-Sisi himself.”
Some observers said they noticed slow or shut-down Internet service on Saturday, and warned of Egypt’s history of cutting off access during previous demonstrations.
Image: Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency file