Egypt tourism hashtag campaign goes awry as tweets air accusations of state abuses instead

Twitter users have hijacked a government hashtag called #ThisIsEgypt — part of an online campaign aimed at drawing tourists — to air stories and pictures of state abuses and shortcomings instead.

The hashtag was launched Thursday to revitalize the tourism industry, badly hit by political turmoil and more recently by the crash of a Russian airliner into the Sinai desert. Russia said it was downed by a bomb and halted all flights to Egypt, dealing a heavy blow to the sector which was largely dependent on Russian tourists.

The campaign had attracted hundreds of posts on Friday, with many showing badly maintained streets and piles of trash, and links to articles about detainees, police abuses and the government's bloody dispersal of peaceful protesters outside Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiyah mosque in 2013.