Cairo train crash: Protester arrested in Tahrir Square after calling for Egypt's president to resign

Tahrir Square was centre of protests during Egyptian Revolution

Richard Hall
Middle East Correspondent
Friday 01 March 2019 13:09
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Fire rages at Cairo train station following crash at platform

A lone protester has been arrested in Egypt’s Tahrir Square after calling for the country’s president, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, to resign.

Videos shared online showed the man being led away by police after staging the demonstration on his own, which was reportedly held in response to train crash in the capital this week that killed at least 25 people.

“I am in Tahrir Square and God willing people will come today and protest for the blood that was spilt yesterday,” said the man, who was identified by pro-Islamist website Rassd News Network as Ahmed Mohie, a local pharmacist.

“Egypt has people who are not afraid of anyone but their creator,” he said in the video.

The rare protest has stirred a strong reaction online in Egypt, where dissent is not tolerated. Tahrir Square was the focal point of protests during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, which led to the removal of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak from power. It was again the scene of massive demonstrations against his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by the current president in a coup just one year into his term

President Sisi, Egypt's former army chief, has cracked down on all forms of opposition to his rule since coming to power in 2014. In the past year, his security forces “have escalated a campaign of intimidation, violence, and arrests against political opponents, civil society activists, and many others who have simply voiced mild criticism of the government,” according to Human Rights Watch.

Mohie, the protester, was seen in another video with a sign that said “Leave, Sisi”. Social media users reacted by sharing the picture with the hashtag with the same words. Others used the hashtag “returning to Tahrir”.

Egypt’s transport network suffers frequent crashes, and the government has faced criticism for not doing enough to maintain it.

Authorities said they have arrested six people over the deadly crash, including two train conductors, their aides and two other rail workers. Investigators said the crash may have been caused by a fight between the two conductors.

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