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Egypt on high alert after petition calling on Sisi to stand down circulates

Demonstrators gather during a demonstration against Egyptian President on March 6, 2021 [ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images]
Demonstrators gather during a demonstration against Egyptian President on March 6, 2021 [ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images]

Egyptian authorities have put the country in a state of high security after an online petition calling on the president to stand down began circulating.

According to the New Arab, Egypt's Technocrats, which the expats who launched the petition are known as, have asked for the upper and lower houses to be suspended.

They are also calling for confidence to be withdrawn from Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's rule due to an array of failures, including his mismanagement of the economy.

Al-Sisi has embarked on several vanity projects which have cost the country a considerable amount of money with very little return.

In 2014 the government extended the Suez Canal at a cost of $8 billion with the claim that post renovation the revenue would increase to $100 billion a year. However, revenue fell from $5.5 billion to $5.1 billion in 2015 and have never risen sufficiently to repay the loan instalments taken out to fund the project.

READ: Egyptian anger after mysterious death of Sisi critic

According to an anonymous security source who shared information on the petition with the New Arab,

Egypt's chief spy Abbas Kamel and other heads of security agencies held a meeting to decide what to do about it.

Some suggestions included hacking the accounts of people circulating it, targeting them with pro-Sisi trolls and reporting them to social media platforms.

The government considers this to be the most alarming threat from citizens abroad, added the source.

Egypt is one of the most repressive regimes in the world, with over 60,000 political prisoners who are systematically tortured. Extrajudicial executions and forcible disappearances are rife in a bid to control free speech.

However, the government has struggled to control expats living abroad, many of whom have used platforms in countries with greater freedom of expression to criticise the government.

Authorities have instead arrested and forcibly disappeared their family members inside Egypt to bully them into silence.

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