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Egypt protestors look to new app ‘Signal’ to mobilize rallies

The app, Signal, has become a new popular tool to mobilize protests by Egyptians because of its accessibility and ability to provide privacy

Published: Updated:

Egyptian protesters are now turning to a new app called Signal and have abandoned the once-reliable Facebook after authorities monitored the social networking site for information on protests.

The app, according to an Intercept report, has become a new popular tool to mobilize protests by Egyptians because of its accessibility and ability to provide privacy.

The free, open-source app, available for Android and iOS, lets users send one another encrypted direct or group messages illegible to anyone but their intended recipients. They can also send relevant media like photos and videos over the service.

However, using the encrypted app did not provide full-proof protection against authorities with reports on Monday of police searching the phones of protesters, and even scanning their Facebook and WhatsApp accounts, according to a report by Tech Insider.

Earlier this month, thousands angered by Sisi's decision to hand over two islands to Saudi Arabia called for his government to fall in the largest demonstration since the former army general took office in 2014.

Security forces moved on Monday to prevent a repeat scenario, blocking roads in Cairo leading to a central meeting point and dispersing a march in the Dokki neighborhood with tear gas, a witness said.

Amnesty International said in a statement on Tuesday it has received information from local activists that at least 238 people, including foreign nationals, activists and journalists, were arrested on 25 April across Egypt.

“The Egyptian authorities appear to have orchestrated a heavy-handed and ruthlessly efficient campaign to squash this protest before it even began. Mass arrests, road blocks and huge deployments of security forces made it impossible for peaceful demonstrations to take place,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s interim Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, in a statement obtained by Al Arabiya English.