Egypt: Lawyers say police rounded hundreds over protests

Egypt: Lawyers say police rounded hundreds over protests
Protesters chant slogans against the regime in Cairo, Egypt, early Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Dozens of people held a rare protest in Cairo during which they called on Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to quit. Security forces dispersed the protesters and no casualties were reported. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian rights lawyers say security forces have rounded up hundreds of people following small but rare anti-government protests.

The protests broke out in several Egyptian cities including the capital, Cairo, over the weekend, calling for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to step down.

All protests were quickly broken up by police. But they marked a startling eruption of street unrest, which has been almost completely silenced the past years by draconian measures imposed under el-Sissi.

Lawyers Malek Adly Khaled el-Masry said Monday security forces had arrested at least 400 people in Cairo and elsewhere across the country.

El-Masry says prosecutors have questioned at least 220 people, over claims that they took part in activities of an outlawed group, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood group, and disseminating false news.