Small but rare protests in Egypt after online call for dissent
CAIRO (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Cairo and several other Egyptian cities late on Friday shouting anti-government slogans, responding to an online call for a demonstration against government corruption, witnesses and residents said. Protests have become very rare in Egypt following a broad crackdown on dissent under President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who took power after the overthrow of the former Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in 2013 following mass protests against his rule. Security forces moved to disperse the crowds in Cairo using tear gas in at least one location
CAIRO (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Cairo and several other Egyptian cities late on Friday shouting anti-government slogans, responding to an online call for a demonstration against government corruption, witnesses and residents said.
Protests have become very rare in Egypt following a broad crackdown on dissent under President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who took power after the overthrow of the former Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in 2013 following mass protests against his rule.
Security forces moved to disperse the crowds in Cairo using tear gas in at least one location. But many young people stayed on the streets in the centre of the capital, shouting "Leave Sisi," Reuters reporters at the scene said.
Small protests were held in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, Suez on the Red Sea as well as the Nile Delta textile town of Mahalla el-Kubra, about 110 km (68 miles) north of Cairo, according to residents and videos posted online.
There was a heavy security presence in downtown Cairo and on Tahrir Square where mass protests started in 2011 which toppled veteran ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Authorities could not be immediately reached for comment.
A pro-government TV anchor said only a small group of protesters had gathered in central Cairo to take videos and selfies before leaving the scene. Another pro-government channel said the situation around the Tahrir Square was quiet.
Mohamed Ali, a building contractor and actor turned political activist who lives in Spain, called in a series of videos for the protest after accusing Sisi and the military of corruption.
Last Saturday, Sisi dismissed the claims as "lies and slander".
Sisi was first elected in 2014 with 97% of the vote, and re-elected four years later with the same percentage, in a vote in which the only other candidate was an ardent Sisi supporter. His popularity has been dented by economic austerity measures.
Sisi's supporters say dissent must be quashed to stabilize Egypt, after a 2011 uprising and the unrest that followed, including an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that has killed hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians.
They also credit him with economic reforms agreed with the International Monetary Fund.
(Reporting by Cairo newsroom; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.