, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
If you're wondering what on earth is happening in #Egypt right now and why, here's some quick background. #ميدان_التحرير

On September 2nd, a former contractor working with the Egyptian military released a video online accusing president Sisi and his close companions of rampant corruption in the construction industry, and of robbing him of over 200 million Egyptian pounds.
The man, Mohamed Ali, who is also an actor, released a series of daily videos detailing specific projects Sisi, his wife, and several other top generals were involved in - which included using state funds to build personal palaces and hotels.
The videos gained massive traction in Egypt, and were watched by millions each day, giving Mohamed Ali a sudden and overwhelming following, and prompting him to continue criticising the Egyptian government and its economic and political failures.
Keep in mind that under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, opposition and criticism has become virtually impossible. Activists are jailed. Opposition parties shut down. Journalists arrested without charge. Simply posting anti-government messages on social media can get you jailed and tortured
So for many, Mohamed Ali, who had fled to Spain a year before releasing the videos, quickly became a rallying figure and a voice who spoke directly to Sisi without hesitation. He also knew his secrets, having worked closely with him for years.
Last week, Sisi did something unusual. He directly responded to Mohamed Ali's claims during a youth conference. He admited that he did build palaces using state funds, but denied he was corrupt and claimed it was all for the country's good. middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-sis…
This didn't go down well. People were furious. And Mohamed Ali used the momentum to call on people to take to social media and demand Sisi resign. If that didn't happen, they should protest for 1 hour on Friday night. Which is tonight.
No one knew what to expect tonight. People were terrified of going out and facing threats of violence and arrests at the hands of the police and army like we've seen before. Protesting under Sisi is banned, and activists have received lengthy sentences for taking part before.
People also remember well what happened in 2013 in Rabaa, when police and soldiers opened fire on supporters of then-president Mohammed Morsi, killing at least 1000 in a single day.
But people did come out, energised by Mohamed Ali's videos, and desperate to release their anger after years of oppression, fear and economic woe. What we saw tonight hasn't happened since 2013, and could spell the beginning of the end of Sisi's reign.
What happens now is anybody's guess. Mohamed Ali has repeatedly called on other top military figures, like defence minister Mohamed Zaki, to detain Sisi himself. He's also suggested many in the army were fed up and would support the protesters.
What we saw tonight was still a few hundred or thousand people out on the streets, a far stretch from the millions in 2011 or 2013 that prompted the army to move.
But if what Mohamed Ali suggests is true, there could be factions within the army ready to take control sooner rather than later, and what that spells for both Sisi and the future of the country is anybody's guess.
With Sisi out of the country and on his way to the UN General Assembly in NY right now, we saw a surprisingly restrained police force on the streets. Though that could change if the protests continue.
For now Egyptians have taught themselves two important lessons tonight. 1) They can break through the barrier of fear tightly wound by the army over the last 6 years. 2) The energy of the 2011 revolution still lives.
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