CAIRO – A planned gathering of international youth organized by the Egyptian government has been slammed on its own social media hashtag, with dozens of posts criticizing leaders for their poor human rights record and campaigns against free speech.
Billed as the "World Youth Forum" under the patronage of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the event is scheduled for Nov. 4-10 in the Red Sea city of Sharm el-Sheikh. It encouraged people to use the hashtag #WeNeedToTalk for English and Arabic posts.
But by Tuesday, Twitter was alight with criticism, with users posting images of Egyptian police beating and chasing down youths during el-Sissi's reign, and images of youngsters incarcerated for political stances. One such case mentioned a student jailed for three years for posting a doctored image of el-Sissi wearing Mickey Mouse ears.