Protests have broken out in the south of Egypt with demonstrators calling for the departure of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi amid a high security alert.
Following Friday prayers in the Warraq area in Giza governorate,demonstrators chanted slogans calling for the resignation of el-Sisi and raised slogans condemning the deterioration of living conditions in the country as well as the spread of corruption.
Demonstrations were also witnessed on the streets of Luxor as well as in Qaus, Qena Governorate.
On Friday, pro-Sisi demonstrations were also taking place in Alexandria, north Egypt.
In Cairo, security forces closed off entrances to Tahrir Square, the hub of the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Hosni Mubarak. There was a heavy police presence around the square and at some junctions in the city centre.
Earlier, Egypt’s president played down a call for protests against his rule, saying there were “no reasons for concern” even as the army and the police tightened security in the capital.
Rights groups said nearly 2,000 people have so far been arrested in a broad crackdown following last week’s small but rare demonstrations against el-Sisi, who took power in a 2013 coup.
In a brief statement on Thursday, Egypt’s Ministry of Interior warned it would “confront any attempt to destabilise social peace in a firm and decisive way”.
Last week’s protests were in response to a call for action from Mohamed Ali, an Egyptian businessman who accused el-Sisi of wasting public funds on vanity projects despite widespread poverty. The former military contractor, who lives in self-imposed exile in Spain, has called for a “million-man march” and a “people’s revolution” to topple el-Sisi.
El-Sisi, who came to power after leading the military overthrow of then-President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, has rejected Ali’s allegations. He has overseen a broad crackdown on dissent that has extended to liberal as well as Islamist groups and has effectively banned protests.
Morsi, the country’s first democratically-elected president, died in June. He had been in custody since he was deposed as the president.