Hashtag “Sisi Leave” in (Arabic) has been trending in the past few hours in Egypt with people urging Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to resign amid recent austerity measures carried out as part of economic reforms ordered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
While Egyptians were celebrating Eid al-Fitr( the feast) last weekend, al-Sisi’s government surprisingly declared on Saturday a slash in fuel prices and transportation by 50%, in addition to an increase in electricity prices and piped drinking water.
For the third time since Egypt floated their pound in 2016, the government increase prices with expectation to pile more pressure on Egyptians struggling to make ends meet. This comes as the price of a loan from the IMF. The fiscal reforms left many Egyptians worse off.
Egyptians have not fully recovered from the 2011 uprising that resulted in ousting longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
On social media, Egyptians discussed putting an end to the struggles they have been living in the past few months.
The hashtag flooded Egyptian social media, with people urging al-Sisi to leave threatening of going on protests that might be similar to 2011 uprising.
An Egyptian actor, producer and director based in LA, Khaled Abol Naga, re-tweeted an old video for al-Sisi in 2016 while he is promising that there will be no future increase in Egypt.
Some users went to remind Sisi of earlier remarks he made on his leaving when he said.”If you want me to quit, I will quit.”
Others went to repost images from 2011 uprising known as the January 25 Revolution, calling on Egyptians to do it again.
Besides the economic unrest and hard living conditions, al-Sisi’s government has long been criticized by international human rights groups for cracking down on secular and left-wing activists, as well as Islamists close to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
Al-Sisi was sworn in for his second four-year term with a slide victory, though the election was widely seen as a farce. All other political competitors either arrested, sidelined or withdrew.
Al-Sisi reached power through a military coup in 2013 against Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. This comes after the January 25th, 2011 revolution, in which Egyptians took to the streets inspired by their Tunisian neighbors, end 30 years of dictatorial Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
In August 2016, the Economist has highlighted al-Sisi as the one who is responsible for the ruining of Egypt in its editorial titled: “The Ruining of Egypt…Repression and the incompetence of al-Sisi are stoking the second uprising.”
The magazine said at the end of its editorial that the demographic, economic and social pressures in Egypt are relentlessly increasing and that al-Sisi is incapable of providing the sustainable stability to Egypt, the political regime also needs to be reopened.
The magazine considered al-Sisi’s withdrawal from the political life is the hope gate for the Egypt. The Economist continued saying, “Egypt’s political system needs to be reopened. A good place to start would be for al-Sisi to announce that he will not stand again for election in 2018.”
However, al-Sisi is still in power closing the gates for recent hopes.