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Arabic press review: Egypt cracks down ahead of planned protests

Meanwhile, a senior Kuwaiti official claims the Gulf crisis will be resolved soon
Egyptian security forces have intensified measures near Tahrir Square in Cairo in an efforts to prevent protests planned for 20 September (AFP/file photo)

Security alert in Egypt for fear of popular unrest 

Egyptian security services have intensified their preparations for protests planned for 20 September, the first anniversary of the largest anti-government demonstrations witnessed in the country for five years. 

According to Al-Arabi al-Jadeed newspaper, National Security Agency officers have been deployed in central locations across the country, particularly in the vicinity of Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Arab Spring protests in 2011. 

A well-informed security source told the paper that over a thousand young men and women have been arrested in front of subway stations and in the streets surrounding Tahrir Square since last Wednesday. 

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Security agencies have been instructed to identify any potential activists, and to search their phones and social media accounts for any anti-government content, the source was quoted as saying. 

The security measures coincide with the approaching anniversary of the rare protests that hit Egypt in September 2019 following a call by the whistleblower and former Egyptian army contractor Mohamed Ali. 

Ali reignited anti-government sentiments last year when he released a series of videos in which he accused top figures in the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of corruption, citing evidence from projects he had worked on with the army. 

This year, Ali has been urging Egyptians to protest again on 20 September, using the hashtag "go out on 20 September", but his calls have triggered mixed responses due to fears of a government crackdown. 

Following last year’s protests, the government detained at least 3,000 people, including prominent activists like Alaa Abdel Fattah. 

The calls for protest come in the context of growing discontent and anger against the Egyptian government. The demonstrations will be decentralised, and will take place in Cairo and other governorates, the paper said.

This new popular movement is not affiliated to any particular group or trend, but rather stems from the problems afflicting popular and poor regions in the country, according to the newspaper.

Kuwaiti official: Gulf crisis will end soon

In an interview with Al-Khaleej Online in Ankara, Ghassan al-Zawawi, the Kuwaiti ambassador in the Turkish capital, said that there are signs that the crisis between Gulf countries and Qatar will be resolved soon.

“There are signs of a breakthrough in the Gulf crisis on the horizon,” Zawai said.

The ambassador claimed his country has played the role of mediator throughout the crisis, looking to bring all sides together and to find a resolution that leaves everyone satisfied. 

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) witnessed the biggest internal crisis in its history when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and ally Egypt decided to boycott Qatar and impose a blockade in June 2017, over its alleged support of terrorism and close ties with Iran. Doha categorically denies the claims.

"It is heartwarming that all countries agree on Kuwait’s role as credible and dedicated mediator within this framework, especially that we earned the peace state title," Zawawi said.

*Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye