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Wave of Arrests in Egypt Ahead of Sisi’s 2nd Term

Wave of Arrests in Egypt Ahead of Sisi’s 2nd TermWave of Arrests in Egypt Ahead of Sisi’s 2nd Term

As Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi prepares to be sworn in for a second four-year term on Saturday, a wave of arrests signals his government’s fear of social dissent, analysts say.

Personalities involved in the January 2011 popular uprising that brought down president Hosni Mubarak are among those to have been detained, amid a crackdown that began after the March elections gave Sisi an official 97% of the vote, France24 reported.

Two of those arrested are blogger and journalist Wael Abbas and Shadi Ghazali Harb, one of the youth leaders during the 2011 revolution.

They also include Hazim Abdelazim, who has described his decision to head the youth committee of Sisi’s successful 2014 presidential bid as his “biggest mistake”.

“The arrests are in line with the repressive policies of recent years, which aim to subdue” all potential checks on power, said Karim Bitar, a researcher at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs.

A month ahead of the elections, the public prosecutor’s office warned the media it would act against the dissemination of “false information” deemed detrimental to the country’s “safety and security”.

  No Policy Change

The latest arrests show “nothing has changed in the security-focused policies of the regime” in Egypt, said Mostafa Kamel el-Sayed, a political science professor at Cairo University.

“There is still worry of a repeat of what happened in January 2011, which the president has expressed more than once,” said Sayed.

Economic hardship may also be making the authorities jittery, analysts say.

The government has brought in a value-added tax, cut fuel subsidies and hiked electricity prices, as it seeks to keep to the terms of a $12-billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.

 

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