Thousands of protesters took to the streets in several cities in Egypt, in a rare display of dissent against President Abdel Fath el-Sisi.
As they gathered at Tairir Square in Cairo late on Friday, protesters chanted slogans "people demanding the fall of the regime" and "leaving Sisi", echoing the chanting that erupted over eight years ago and toppled the longstanding Leader Hosni Mubarak.
In Alexandria, hundreds marched to the seafront, chanting "get up, don't be afraid, Sisi needs to go," while in the port city of Damieta, protesters took down a large poster of the president, a former general who presided over w
The protests came when El-Sisi traveled to the United States to attend the UNGA (1
Protests were reported in at least eight cities, with the largest crowd gathering in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.
Videos and photos of the protests were shared on social media with the hashtag #Tahrir_Square, which trended worldwide on Friday.
متداول | ارتفاع أعداد المتظاهرين بشكل سريع في الشوارع المحيطة ب # ميدان_التحرير
# نازلين_بعد_الماتش pic.twitter.com/JHkIm1jYBn  – نون بوست (@NoonPost) 20 September 2019
– Francesca Kakardi (@FraCicardi) September 20, 2019 [السيان] 2019 [19459011|أم
سكندرية يا دولة ….
أنا من البلادي …
دي أقل حاجة عندنا ….
مسيرات بعشرات الآلاف علي رنيش …
تعرف تعد لغاية كام يا سيسي? # ندعو_الجيش_بلاش_دم_تاني # السيسي_بيفرفر # ارحل_يا_سيسي # ارحل_ياسيسي # الشعب_يريد_اسقاط_النظام # ميدان_التحرير pic.twitter .com / tY5yp0Elbe  – Haytham Abokhalil هيثم أبوخليل (@ haythamabokhal1) September 20, 2019
Unauthorized protests in Egypt are not allowed and police are quickly firing up, firing tear gas at Cairo protesters and Cairo protesters. At least four people were arrested in the capital while a journalist was arrested in the city of Mahala, according to the Egyptian Commission on Rights and Freedoms.
The AFP news agency, citing a security source, said at least 74 people were arrested.
No casualties were reported. Al Jazeera is forbidden to report from Egypt.
What triggered the protests?
Protesters responded to a call from exiled businessman Mohammed Ali, who called on the Egyptians to take to the streets after a highly anticipated football match between the Al Ahly and Zamalek clubs in Cairo.  In a series of videos posted on Facebook and Twitter, Ali, who said he worked as a construction contractor for the army for 15 years, accused el Sisi and his assistants of wasting public funds on vanity projects, despite growing poverty.
"Sisi has taken corruption to a low level to a new level. I have built five villas for Sisi's aides and a palace for the president at a Cairo military camp," he said from Spain, where exile is currently being punished.
El-Sisi denied the allegations as "slander" last week. Speaking at a youth conference, he said he was "honest and faithful" to Egypt and the military.
"Mohammed Ali is probably the most popular person in Egypt right now," says Mohammad Elmasri, chairman of the Doha Postgraduate Studies and Journalism Program, referring to the millions of people who have watched his online videos and used his anti-sisist hashtags.
"This is something that is a legitimate threat to the el-Sisi government – if it was not a legitimate threat, then el-Sisi would not have come out and responded directly to Mohammed Ali at last week's youth conference," Elmasri said. adding that it is "unprecedented" for El-Sisi to be placed in a defense like the one in Egypt by an Egyptian. "
Sami Hamdi, editor-in-chief of The International Interest, says: "The fact that dozens of people have actually entered Tahrir Square is in itself an incredible achievement to try and protest against Sisi."
] El-Sisi took power after a military coup that overthrew democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsey in 2013 with weeks of protests. He was elected the following year with 97 percent of the vote and was re-elected in a vote in 2018 in which the only other candidate was his supporter.
Analysts say the popularity of the 64-year-old leader has weakened in recent years due to austerity measures and rising poverty levels.
Official statistics released in July show that 33 percent of Egyptians live in poverty, compared to 28 percent in 2015 and 17 percent in 2000. Other estimates put the figure higher.
"The Egyptian government and Sissy have suppressed any protest mercilessly, so the fact that people are ready to go out tonight, I think, speaks to the enormous powerlessness, the enormous anger that ordinary Egyptians feel about Sissi," Bill Law said. , an analyst based in the United Kingdom.
The crowds are mostly young people.
Dalia Fahmi, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Politics in New York, said those on the street Friday were different from the crowds who participated in the 2011 protests that took down Mubarak. She described them as younger people who "did not see the benefits of the revolution" and were disappointed with the poverty and austerities that "crippled daily life."
"Much of the population does not live with the post-revolution trauma or the memories of the revolution the way the older generation did. You have a group of young people who come in with a different set of requirements and different kinds of future opportunities, "she said."
"We could be in a moment of crescendo that makes people break through the barrier of fear," she said .
How does the government react?
official comment from the Egyptian government and state media did not cover the protests.
Reports cite government television stations that say the situation around Tahrir Square in Cairo is quiet.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Egypt to release those arrested during the protests and called on the UN to pressure Egypt to respect the rights of freedom of expression and assembly.
"El-Sisi's security agencies have time and again use brutal force to crush peaceful protests," said Michael Page, Middle East and North Africa's deputy director at HRW.
"The authorities must recognize that the world is watching and take all necessary steps to avoid a recurrence of past atrocities."