More than 1,000 people have been detained by Egyptian authorities, including academics and a journalist.
Egyptian authorities have detained hundreds of people in a sweeping crackdown after rare protests against the country’s regime last week, as the architect of the demonstrations called for more this Friday.
Videos posted on social media purported to show crowds protesting in the southern town of Qena.
In the footage that could not immediately be verified by TRT World, crowds chanted: "There is not God but God, Sisi is the enemy of God".
Those arrested before Friday included Cairo University academics Hassan Nafaa and Hazem Hosny, as well as journalist Khaled Daoud.
The Egyptian Centre for Freedoms and Rights said 1,298 had been detained while 1,003 of those had been placed under formal arrest.
Hosny was the spokesperson for former military chief Sami Anan’s presidential campaign. Anan was detained after announcing his run for Egypt’s top job in the 2018 election. Every candidate who stood against Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi was either arrested or otherwise had their candidacy cancelled.
Nafaa was arrested after tweeting that it was in Egypt’s best interests to remove Sisi from power prior to the protests that began last Friday.
The arrests come as the instigator of last weekend’s protests, Mohammed Ali, repeated his call for Sisi to step down and for Egyptians to take to the streets on Friday if he did not.
In his latest video, published on Wednesday evening, Ali said that the Egyptian regime could not withstand people power and that he was in contact with officers within the Egyptian army - though they were under pressure from higher-ups.
Ali fled Egypt for Spain earlier this year and began speaking out against corruption involving Sisi and others within the military regime.
The businessman and film producer said the country was losing billions due to unnecessary and ostentatious projects which only benefited Sisi and his henchmen, further accusing figures in the regime of shortchanging him to the tune of millions of dollars.
Ali’s campaign was initially limited to videos condemning Sisi but after they went viral on social media and inspired several trending hashtags, he moved on to calling for street protests.
The effect of the arrest on turnout remains to be seen, but human rights groups have called on the Sisi regime to respect the right to protest.
Pro-Sisi groups have vowed to also demonstrate and Egypt's army has vowed to maintain 'stability'.
“President Sisi’s security agencies have time and again used brutal force to crush peaceful protests,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
“The authorities should recognize that the world is watching and take all necessary steps to avoid a repetition of past atrocities.”