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Egypt's anniversary protests

30 January 2020 Jack A. Kennedy

The ninth anniversary of Egypt's 2011 revolution is on 25 January, also commemorating Police Day. The lead up to the anniversary has not been promoted by the government, with multiple television channels hosting programmes openly critical of the revolution and no official commemorative events planned.

Mohammed Ali, an Egyptian businessperson and actor who became a prominent figure after making allegations of government corruption and calling for protests in 2019, called for a new round of demonstrations on 25 January, but has not generated significant support online.

Significance

IHS Markit does not expect that significant protests, numbering more than hundreds of people across Egypt, will take place on 25 January. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has consolidated his position of authority in government and has continued to offer senior members of the military and security forces enough economic incentive to continue to support him. There has been minimal public protest permitted since the military took control of the government in 2013 and there has been no evidence to suggest a significant increase in public willingness to protest in 2020. IHS Markit data has not recorded protests numbering more than dozens of people since late September 2019, after which there were wide-ranging arrests of participants and activists.

Additionally, Egypt's latest Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) score of 48.2 in December 2019 still shows lack of growth in the non-oil private sector, but is an improvement compared with the November 2019 score of 47.9. Coupled with an expected drop in headline inflation, currently expected to average 5.2% in 2020, IHS Markit assesses that there is a diminished willingness to mobilise protests against perceived economic stagnation.

We expect that downtown Cairo will be heavily policed by security forces in the days preceding 25 January, with traffic likely being diverted and there being a significant likelihood of business disruption and cargo delay. Pre-emptive arrests of potential demonstrators or activists would increase the likelihood of publicised violence by security forces and would be an indicator of a potentially higher turnout.

Posted 30 January 2020 by Jack A. Kennedy, Senior Analyst, Country Risk – Middle East and North Africa, IHS Markit

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