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Egypt seeks to mute dissent ahead of Arab Spring anniversary

[JURIST] In anticipation of the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising, Egyptian authorities have spent the last week clamping down on dissidents in an effort to avoid further political unrest. At the instruction of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi [BBC profile], Egyptian security forces searched over 5,000 homes, seized activists in public, closed an art gallery, raided a publishing house and arrested a medical doctor in a nighttime raid, all as "precautionary measures." Fearing a similar uprising to the one that ousted his predecessor Hosni Mubarak [BBC profile], al-Sisi addressed his critics last month, stating "Why am I hearing calls for another revolution? Why do you want to ruin the nation? I came by your will and your choice and not despite it." Speaking anonymously to the Associated Press, an Egyptian senior security official stated [AP report], "[w]e are very concerned and will not allow protests. These movements are aimed at polarizing society and mobilizing the masses against the government."

United by social media communication, Egyptian activists took to the streets [JURIST op-eds] on January 25, 2011. Beginning in Cairo, the protests forced [JURIST report] then-president Mubarak out of office. Afterwards, a military junta took over control of the country, installing an interim constitution that promised a fair election of government officials. Mohamed Morsi was elected and became president in 2012, but was ousted [JURIST report] in 2013. Morsi's ouster led to the rise of now-president al-Sisi.

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