Anti-Sisi hashtag makes way to Egypt pro-democracy protests

CAIRO – A popular Twitter hashtag deriding former Egyptian army chief and presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi made its way into nationwide pro-democracy rallies on Friday.

Protesters in several districts of Cairo reportedly spray-painted the hashtag on walls during fresh demonstrations called for by the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, the main support bloc for ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Al-Sisi is widely seen as the driving force behind Morsi's ouster by the army – and subsequent imprisonment – last July.

Late last month, al-Sisi resigned from his post as defense minister to declare his intention to run for president.

Following the announcement, critics voiced their displeasure on Twitter using a highly offensive hashtag in Arabic that translates roughly to "Vote for the pimp."

Within three days, the hashtag – which remains in use until present – achieved  millions of impressions and reach, according to a survey by Anadolu Agency using hashtag-tracking website Keyhole.

Security forces on Friday used teargas to disperse pro-Morsi rallies in Cairo, Alexandria and several other provinces across the country.

No casualties have been reported thus far.

In the coastal province of Alexandria, al-Sisi supporters staged a counter-demonstration in support of the former army chief's presidential bid.

Egypt has been dogged by instability since last July, when the army unseated Morsi – the country's first freely elected leader – following protests against his presidency.

Ever since, pro-democracy protesters have staged rallies on an almost daily basis.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency