Popular Egyptian talk show host and TV presenter Amr Adib said on Friday night that around 30-40 protesters gathered in Downtown Cairo, chanted, and were quickly detained, adding that minor protests will not “intimidate the Egyptian state.”
Commenting on reports of mass demonstrations around the country, Adib said the demonstrations couldn’t have been mobilised based on the calls by actor and contractor Mohamed Ali who is currently based in Spain. Ali has called upon Egyptians to protest on Friday, a call that Adib argued “could never have been the reason for the protests [on Friday].”
The pro-state presenter, who is currently working in the Saudi-owned MBC channel, said that members of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group “with the help of Turkish and Qatari intelligence apparatuses,” staged the protests.
Egypt has designated the Brotherhood group as a terrorist entity. In addition, pro-state media and several politicians have publicly accused Turkey and Qatar of funding and aiding the group.
Adib claimed that that the gatherings at Tahrir Square, the starting point of the 2011 January revolution, were minor and will not “intimidate the Egyptian state.” Adib who is known for his close relations with security apparatuses said that a statement from the ministry of interior will be released to report on the incidents, but untill the time of print no official press statements were released by any entity.
Egyptian local media has not reported any of the protests which social media users have said to have taken place in Cairo, Giza, Mansoura, Alexandria, Gharbeya, and Damietta. However, privately-owned channel CBC broadcasted a live transmission from Tahrir Square in the early hours of Saturday claiming the traffic movement in the square is normal, as opposed to the dozens of videos posted by independent users and activists who have published them showing rare but minor protests in some governorates.
However, several foreign agencies reported the incident. For example, Reuters reported that “security forces moved to disperse the small and scattered crowds in Cairo using tear gas but many young people stayed on the streets in the centre of the capital.”
Similarly, AFP reported that “dozens of people joined night-time demonstrations around Tahrir Square….. Amid a heavy security presence, including riot police and plainclothes police officers, protesters were rounded up.” Also, AP reported that “demonstrators chanted slogans echoing the Arab Spring uprisings that briefly defied dictatorships across the region” after responding to calls of protests by Mohamed Ali.
The Egyptian State Information Service, an entity affiliated with the Egyptian state, which often responds to foreign media reports, has not yet published any response.
Ali, who claims to have been working in construction work with the military, accused some of the country’s high figures of corruption and using state funds to build private real estate. He has broadcasted a number of videos, since the start of September, on several social media outlets which received millions of views.
Ali’s claims were refuted by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during the 8th National Youth Conference held last Saturday.
“Yes, I have built presidential palaces, and I will build more, but those are not for me, as I am actually rebuilding the country,” Al-Sisi said.
The comments came in a session titled “The Impact of spreading lies against state in light of the fourth-generation war.” Lately, the Egyptian state has exerted efforts attempting to counter “rumours and fake news.”