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Egyptians highlight human rights abuses as government campaign backfires

After the Egyptian government encouraged World Youth Forum participants to engage with one another ahead of the conference using the hashtag #WeNeedToTalk, many citizens took the opportunity to call out alleged human rights abuses.
Egyptian journalists and photo-journalists take part in a protest in front of their syndicate in Cairo on September 30, 2014, to demand the release of their detained colleagues Mahmud Abu Zied (portrait-R), also known as Shawkan, and Ahmad Gamal (portrait-L). Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, political unrest has reached unprecedented levels in Egypt, with more than 1,400 people killed and at least 15,000 jailed in a government crackdown. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMED EL-SHAHED
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A campaign launched by the Egyptian government to promote the World Youth Forum scheduled for Nov. 4-10 at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh appears to have backfired after internet activists hijacked the conference hashtag #WeNeedToTalk to highlight human rights abuses in the country under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime.

The conference’s organizers had hoped the hashtag would encourage interaction among the participants ahead of the forum and promote Egypt as a safe tourist destination. Instead, the activists posted images of security forces assaulting and arresting youths at protest sites and shared portraits of jailed journalists, activists and others who have allegedly been tortured or forcibly disappeared.

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