More than 1,100 people, including several high-profile individuals, have been arrested by Egyptian authorities after rare protests.
They were arrested for protesting in several cities, calling on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to quit.
Those reported arrested in the past two days include one of Egypt’s most prominent opposition figures, a former spokesman for a candidate in last year’s presidential election, and a renowned writer, human rights monitors said on Wednesday
Gamal Eid, head of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, said his group and two others – the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms – documented more than 1,100 arrests.
Several hundred people are under investigation for using social media to “spread false news”, undermining national security, joining a banned “terrorist” group, and protesting without a permit, defence lawyers say.
The interior ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.
Khaled Dawoud, a leading member of the Civil Democratic Movement, a coalition of opposition parties and figures, was detained late on Tuesday in Cairo, Eid said.
Also arrested was Hazem Hosny, a former spokesman for the short-lived 2018 presidential campaign of the ex-military chief of staff Sami Anan, said Mustapha Kamel el-Sayyid, a professor at Cairo University, citing Hosny’s family.
El-Sayyid said Hassan Nafaa, a prominent writer and analyst who also teaches at Cairo University, has been missing on Tuesday, citing Nafaa’s family.
Security forces have stepped up their presence in main squares in major cities and have been conducting spot checks of mobile phones for political content.
El-Sisi came to power after leading the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, following mass protests against him in 2013.
El-Sisi’s supporters say tough measures were necessary to stabilise Egypt after the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled former strongman Hosni Mubarak.
On Wednesday morning, the Arabic hashtag “Sisi is not my president” was trending with more than 40,000 tweets. Several Twitter hashtags have been used to rally support for the protests, while hashtags in support of el-Sisi have also