Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s son has launched a plan to thwart protests against his father’s rule, reports Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, including courting high-profile businessmen to consolidate support and directing media coverage of demonstrations.
In the past week Egyptians have responded to a call by the exiled Egyptian contractor Mohamed Ali to take to the streets until the president stands down as the country reels from revelations that he was pumping money into vanity projects as Egyptians lived through severe austerity measures.
Nearly 2,000 people have now been arrested as security forces move to crush the opposition ahead of further protests planned for tomorrow.
Security official Mahmoud Al-Sisi has asked prominent businessmen and MPs to help gather thousands of pro-government supporters to stage a counter rally tomorrow and has offered cash in exchange for support to people living in poorer districts.
This is a common tactic used by regime supporters – in January 2018 loyal businessmen handed out money and food to poor voters as it collected signatures for Al-Sisi’s re-election in March that year.
Mahmoud said that the show of support would be “appreciated”, sources told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Despite the fact that Amnesty International has condemned the escalating repression of protesters in which lawyers, journalists and politicians have been rounded up, Mahmoud Al-Sisi criticised the Interior Minister for the “lax” approach of security services.
People in Cairo report that police have filled the streets and are stopping citizens to check their social media accounts.
As part of his strategy to quash the protests, Mahmoud Al-Sisi has met with members of the Egyptian media and directed them to focus on the chaos that has erupted in the country since Al-Sisi left the country and report that without him security in Egypt will completely collapse.
The president is currently in New York meeting with global leaders at the United Nations General Assembly.
TV stations intend to air scenes from the 2011 uprising depicting looting and violence and link it to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was cast a terror organisation under the current president. Most prisoners of conscience in Egypt are cast as belonging to the organisation, whether they are or not.
The pro-regime media are also expected to announce a reconciliatory approach with members of the opposition and the release of detainees from prison.
Al-Sisi and the head of security turned down requests from his inner circle to implement political reforms on the basis it would appear as a concession to protesters, reports Al-Aaraby Al-Jadeed, and instead agreed to offer economic reforms aimed at bringing down the high cost of basic goods.