Police in Egypt physically closed off Cairo’s Tahrir Square and other large venues on Friday to avert a major protest against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his regime over allegations of corruption. Protests broke out last weekend in several Egyptian cities following online exhortations from a businessman living abroad who claims to have firsthand knowledge about financial abuses. Human rights groups say that some 2,000 people were arrested in the wake of the initial protests. The businessman, Mohamed Ali, who says he’s living in self-exile in Spain, followed up by calling for a million people to turn out Friday in such places as Tahrir Square, the scene of massive protests that led to the 2011 ouster of strongman Hosni Mubarak, as well as demonstrations against the military’s 2013 removal of Mohammad Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader. At the time of Morsi’s ouster, Sisi was head of the military and later engineered his own way to the presidency. With Ali’s call for Friday protests, supporters of Sisi began organizing counter-protests and were reportedly seen headed to Cairo in motorcades of buses.
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