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Op-Ed video: Sisi is intentionally destroying public squares and green spaces

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's strategy is aimed at suppressing dissent and upholding surveillance, argues blogger and journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is intent on destroying the country's public squares and green spaces to further suppress dissent and reinforce surveillance, argues blogger and journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy.

Ancient tombs, gardens and public squares have all been securitised or demolished, with nothing deemed sacred anymore, he says.

"When it comes to the landscape, there is hardly any Egyptian who doesn't feel the impact of the coup on their daily life," Hamalawy said, referencing the 2013 military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi that brought Sisi to power.

"He [Sisi] has securitised any public space that sees Egyptians gathering together for their daily lives. Whether these are public squares, whether these are green spaces, whether these are community urban civic spaces. 

"These are all places that are being dealt with as a battlefield or as a military camp that should be controlled, that should disperse the masses, not bring them together. And at the same time, it prioritises surveillance with the eyes of the state, gazing all throughout the capital," Hamalawy said.

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"What Sisi is doing is basically taking the counter-revolution to every single street in Egypt. Ironically throughout the 2011 uprising, there was a very popular chant at the time, which is: 'Down with military rule. Egypt is a state, not a military camp'. Ironically today, Sisi is literally turning the country into a military camp."

Hossam el-Hamalawy is a journalist and scholar-activist who researches the Egyptian military and security services.
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