Amid rising concerns over the future of the economy and on the backdrop of price hikes on basic commodities, a number of social media users have called for protests as part of the “Ghalaba Movement” (meaning “Marginalised Movement”), asking citizens to revolt against the regime on demonstrations to be held on 11 November.
“Ghalaba Movement” is an online Facebook campaign, calling for the underprivileged to rise up in revolt that has attracted more than 100,000 followers in a month. It remains unclear who is behind the campaign or its objectives.
The movement has utilised the recent price hikes to galvanise citizens by issuing a statement that said the price increases should be met with public confrontation. The statement said that the movement would contact a number of European non-governmental organisations (NGOs) about the 11 November demonstrations.
These calls were met with sharp criticism by government officials, whether through media statements or directly in press conferences. Meanwhile, a number of media figures have openly refused the calls to protest on 11 November, accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of financing and sponsoring the movement.
On the government side, Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar asserted—during a ceremony held at the Police Academy to celebrate the graduation of a new batch of police officers—that security apparatuses are ready to face all challenges and will not be affected by rumours or allegations issued every now and then regarding 11 November.
The North Benha Prosecution decided on Wednesday to arrest 17 Brotherhood-affiliated members over charges of inciting people to protest on 11 November protests.
The media is not completely unlike the interior minister, particularly on the privately-owned TV channel CBC, where well-known anchor Lamis El Hadidi said that there is a state of panic among citizens due to calls for demonstrations on 11 November. She called on citizens to hold onto their confidence in the current political administration and try to help the government, rather than demolish their policy.
She further requested that the government clarify its strategies in the upcoming days, in order to destroy the motives of those aiming to target the state.
On a different note, El Hadidi’s husband, ONTV talk show presenter Amr Adib, also expressed his concerns over the calls for 11 November. He said that the calls for protest stem from the outlawed Brotherhood, which wants to target the state over the verdicts issued against its members.
Similarly, Osama Kamal, the TV presenter for Cairo 360 on Al Qahera Wel Nas channel, deduced that the reason 11 November was chosen as the protest day is because the numeric date 11/11 is a similar symbol to the Brotherhood’s slogan for the Rabaa Al-Adaweya massacre.
“The 11/11 date consists of four numbers and is similar to the Rabaa symbol that is used by Brotherhood members, which is the entity behind the calls for protest. Egyptians are aware of this and have effectively learned the lesson,” he said during an episode on Sunday.
Another famous talk show presenter, Wael El Ebrashi, on his Dream 2 TV programme, gambled on whether Egyptians had the will or awareness to understand the calls for protest on 11 November.
“Egyptian citizens will firmly support the state despite the current state of frustration. The blood of martyrs will be a priority,” he stressed, in a reference to the recent attack carried out against army checkpoints in North Sinai.
TV anchor Ahmed Moussa tackled the call for protests from a different angle by giving an overview of the prominent figures who support the call, and, in a fatal media mistake, he broadcasted a fabricated Twitter opinion that he assumed was written by former vice president Mohamed El Baradie.
Moussa alleged that El Baradie had addressed Egyptians through Twitter and called on them to actively participate in the upcoming 11 November protests. The tweet included more than 170 letters, despite the fact that Twitter’s letter limit is 140.
“This is a public invitation to all free citizens in Egypt and those who still stand against the military coup. You all should use weapons from now on to open public squares by force as a preparatory step for 11/11 aiming to topple Al-Sisi and his gang,” the fabricated tweet read.