In 2011, when the Arab Spring swept across the Middle East and North Africa region, Egypt was a central country in terms of protests against autocratic ex-leader Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled the country for three decades.
World-renowned Tahrir Square was the place where millions of people gathered from different sides of the political and economic spectrum to challenge Mubarak's rule. As one of the few successes of the Arab Spring, Egyptians managed to switch to democracy. Elections were held the next year, resulting in the democratic victory of ex-President Mohammed Morsi. However, Egypt once again suffered as the current president, el-Sissi, then chief of the army, orchestrated a bloody coup against the country's first freely elected president. Thousands of people rejected the army's move and demonstrated. But the result was embarrassing. Thousands of people were killed in Rabaa Square in one night on the grounds that the army had to disperse the protesters to preserve order. It was the beginning of a long nightmare for Egypt and its people.
Besides the Muslim Brotherhood, which was labeled a terror organization by the new regime, other political dissidents were also silenced. Human rights groups reported that thousands of people were jailed without proper indictments and hundreds died due to torture and bad conditions. Morsi died two months ago during one of the trials. His supporters claimed that he needed treatment for his illnesses but was denied access to medical facilities.
At the same time, Egypt was dragged into economic chaos. The main financiers of the coup and the current regime were certain Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, the flow of money was not sufficient to make any economic progress, while the country had to cope with an insurgency in the Sinai region from Daesh-affiliated groups.
Political pressure, along with economic deterioration, has forced Egyptians to take to the streets. An Egyptian businessman, Mohammad Ali, played a key role in igniting the protests through his videos on YouTube. He claimed that he witnessed misuse of public funds due to the luxurious spending of el-Sissi and officials close to him. Ali even alleged that el-Sissi spent public funds on building a tomb for his mother, who died in 2014.
In response to the protests, el-Sissi has ordered security forces to disperse the protesters. The police used tear gas. Although no casualties have been reported, people are worried since because Egyptian security forces have shown they do not refrain from shooting their own people.
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