from Wall Street Journal
Crackdown is one of the largest on political opponents in years, rights groups say
Egypt’s security forces have arrested some 1,400 people in recent
days in one of the largest crackdowns on political opponents in years,
rights groups said, amid protests calling for President
Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s
The protests began
this past weekend in Cairo and other cities, representing one of the
most serious challenges to Mr. Sisi’s autocratic rule since the former
military chief came to power following a coup in 2013.
government has jailed thousands in an effort wipe out political
opposition in recent years, but the arrests this week stood out due to
the sheer number rounded up in a matter of days.
Amid calls for more demonstrations on Friday, the government
has deployed security forces in central Cairo in the vicinity of Tahrir
Square, which was the center of the protests that toppled former
Among those arrested in the clampdown
this week are protesters from around the country, leading opposition
figures and academics, as well as a number of people who had no apparent
connection to the protests.
Among them was
a journalist and former head of the liberal Constitution Party,
according to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, a
human-rights group that also confirmed the number of those arrested.
government spokesman couldn’t be reached to comment. Egyptian officials
haven’t commented on the arrests. Hundreds of those detained were
referred to prosecutors, while the whereabouts and status of hundreds of
others could not be determined. Some were later released. Egypt has
laws banning protests and incitement against state institutions.
analysts said the detention of a number of people with no apparent
connection to the protests suggested panic on the part of authorities
ahead of the expected Friday protests.
“It’s a nervous breakdown by somebody who has clouded vision,” said
a prominent former newspaper editor and political analyst, referring to Mr. Sisi.
those detained in recent days was
a prominent human-rights lawyer from Alexandria, who was active
in the 2011 uprising against Mr. Mubarak. Others arrested included two
prominent political-science professors,
Mr. Hosny was involved in the campaign of a retired general who
was arrested after attempting to challenge Mr. Sisi for the presidency
[read more here]