A screen shot from the TV talk show showing the anonymous tuk-tuk driver (Photo:Al-Ahram Online)
A short TV interview featuring an angry "tuk-tuk driver" criticising Egypt's economic woes gained immense popularity on Thursday, quickly becoming the country's top viral video.
The night talk show "Someone from the People," which plays on Al-Hayat private channel, aired the segment on Wednesday, in which host Amr El-Leissy visits a local market in a working class area in October city to ask people about their complaints.
A "tuk-tuk driver" spoke angrily as well as eloquently in the segment about the economic and political situation in Egypt, slamming successive governments for nearly four minutes.
"Before the presidential elections there was sugar available in the market, but now it has disappeared; where has it gone?" said the driver, referring to the current sugar supply crisis.
The driver criticised government expenditure on mega national projects and celebrations that exceeds spending on education.
"This country will rise if there is enough care for education, health and agriculture to provide us with food," he said, adding that Egypt's economy fared better under the pre-1952 monarchy.
Taken aback, El-Leissy asked the driver where he graduated from, and the anonymous driver responded that he was a "tuk-tuk graduate."
As the video went viral, Amr El-Leissy revealed that he was contacted on Thursday by the Egyptian cabinet asking to host a debate between the driver and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail.
El-Leissy told the cabinet that he did not have the driver's contact information.
Responding to some viewers' claims that the video was staged, El-Leissy and his producer Mohamed El-Komy insisted the interview was completely authentic.
Al-Hayat TV network removed the video clip from its official Facebook page after obtaining 6 million views in less than a day, without explanation.
The channel also removed the video from host Amr El-Leissy's official Facebook page. El-Leissy attributed the move to copy rights issues; however, other videos from his show remain posted on his official page.
A number of social media users attacked the network for removing the video, which was uploaded to several YouTube channels, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The hashtag "tuk-tuk graduate" has been top trending in Egypt for several hours with thousands of tweets supporting the anonymous tuk-tuk driver.