Sudanese urge release of student detained in Egypt anti-Sisi rallies

Khartoum (AFP) –


Dozens demonstrated in the centre of Sudan's capital Khartoum on Sunday, calling for the release of a Sudanese student reportedly detained in Egypt amid a crackdown on rare protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Scattered rallies against Sisi broke out on September 20 after viral videos posted by an exiled businessman accusing Sisi and the military of corruption tapped into simmering discontent over economic woes.

More than 2,000 people, including lawyers, activists, professors and journalists have since been detained in a wave of arrests.

On Sunday, Sudanese demonstrators outside the country's foreign ministry called for the release of Waleed Abdulraham, a Sudanese student in Cairo who was reportedly detained for protesting.

"We will bring back Waleed!" chanted demonstrators, some holding his photograph, an AFP correspondent reported.

Sisi has downplayed the protests in Egypt, saying there was "no reason for concern".

Elected president in 2014, a year after overthrowing predecessor Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, Sisi is seen as one of the most authoritarian figures in the Middle East.

But his supporters see him as a bulwark against the insecurity and political disintegration unleashed across the region by the Arab Spring protests.

In Sudan, a months-long protest movement led to the military ousting long time ruler Omar al-Bashir on April 11.