Security forces in Cairo hurled tear gas shells and shot live ammunition to disperse hundreds of Egyptians who were protesting against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's decision to hand over two Red Sea islands that has been under Egyptian control since 1950 to Saudi Arabia. At least 100 protesters were reportedly arrested on Friday when they took to the streets.
The protesters returned on Friday voicing their discontent against the president, raising some slogans that were common during the Arab Spring, a revolution seeking democracy in Egypt and other Arab countries in 2011. While protesters majorly rose against the recent handover of the two islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, issues like unemployment and poverty were also at the centre of the uprising.
Echoing slogans from the 2011 revolution, protesters yelled, "Sisi Mubarak, we don't want you, leave," according to Al Jazeera.
"We want the downfall of the regime," Abdelrahman Abdellatif, 29, an air conditioning engineer, told Reuters at the Cairo protest. "The youth of the revolution are still here ... We are experiencing unprecedented fascism and dictatorship."
Protesters chanted slogans like "The people want the downfall of the regime!" "Sisi - Mubarak," "We don't want you, leave" and "We own the land and you are agents who sold our land," according to Reuters. The call for protests has gathered momentum online with the local media also criticising the president, who had greater support from the public earlier.
The president had previously come under fire for the way he handled issues such as the death of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni and a Russian plane that was shot down last year. The president has also been denounced for the number of political prisoners â€” almost 40,000 â€” in the country. He is accused of cutting back freedom won after former president Hosseini Mubarak was dethroned.
Meanwhile, almost 500 supporters of Sisi gathered in Alexandria and another 300 came together in Cairo, Reuters reported.