President El-Sisi speaking in Cairo upon return home from the UNGA meetings in New York (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian presidency)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told Egyptians not to worry in amid calls for protests against his leadership on Friday, stressing that “reality can’t be falsified,” in the first comments following his return home after attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
"The issue does not deserve all of this. You have to know that the Egyptian people have become very aware … more aware of how the picture is being formed to fabricate reality and fool people,” he told reporters at Cairo airport in a video posted on his official Facebook account.
“What was done before will not be done again. Why? This is thanks to God and you," he said, referring to Egyptians.
"Don’t worry about anything. Don’t be worried," he added.
The president's statements came amid calls for protests against his administration on Friday, a week after police disbursed small protests in Cairo and several other cities that were prompted by allegations of mismanagement of state funds during his tenure.
Several rights groups have said that close to 2000 people were arrested during and after the protests last Friday.
On Thursday, the general prosecution said that around a thousand protesters had been arrested last week and are being questioned by the prosecution, in the first official statement on arrests.
The calls for protests on Friday have not been endorsed by any political group; however, media outlets associated with the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhood group have been encouraging people to take to the streets.
Meanwhile, social media outlets have been witnessing a flow of videos from people abroad who refer to themselves as opposition, most of them appearing for the first time.
Earlier this month, Mohamed Ali, 45, a little-known actor and contractor who has fled to Spain, has accused the authorities in a series of viral videos of mismanaging state funds and building a number of lavish palaces for President El-Sisi, though he did not provide evidence for his claims.
El-Sisi described the videos as "lies and fabrications," saying theese allegations aim to shake the trust of the people in their leadership.
“There is a picture that is being formed…just like before. It’s all lies, fabrications, and defamations. Electronic armies are at work with some media outlets to present an untruthful picture,” the president said.
"You have to be aware of this. We are powerful. The country is powerful through you."
El-Sisi urged Egyptians to be careful, describing the situation as “a war between us and them."
"They won’t leave you. They won’t let you succeed. This is a small group versus the whole population,” he said, urging the media to have a bigger role in fostering people’s awareness.
The president said that the day he would ask for a mandate, “just like the one in 2013, [so that] as a message to the whole world, millions will take to the streets."