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Egyptian police deployed in strength across central Cairo Friday following calls to protest against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and AFP correspondents saw no demonstrators on the streets. online news
Calls to protest on November 11 had circulated on social media for weeks, although mystery surrounded the identity of the organisers.
Friday marked a sensitive moment for Sisi as his government welcomed US President Joe Biden to the UN COP27 climate talks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh amid mounting pressure to free jailed dissident Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has been on hunger strike for months.
In Tahrir Square, the focal point of the Arab Spring protests of 2011, AFP correspondents saw not a single protester, just plainclothes security officers checking people’s mobile phones.
Police vans were parked in numbers on access roads to the city centre, including the bridges across the Nile.
Sisi’s government has faced pressure from Britain, France and Germany, as well as the United States, to release Abdel Fattah.
On Thursday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the White House had been in “high-level” communication with the Egyptian government, expressing “deep concern” and a desire to see Abdel Fattah freed.
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