Egyptian authorities have arrested almost 500 people following recent demonstrations against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Most of the protests have taken place in rural areas and thus have escaped the notice of the media, according to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms. Since mid-September, the rights group says, the government has clamped down on protests surrounding the one-year anniversary of calls by Mohamed Ali, a prominent building contractor living in self-exile in Spain, for rallies against the continued rule of Sisi, whom Ali accuses of presiding over widespread corruption. The contractor is again calling for protests. The current unrest, according to activists, also reflects economic frustrations exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as increased fines and demolitions as part of a government campaign against unlicensed construction. Sisi has been conducting a crackdown on political dissent since 2014 following the ousting of Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood figure elected president in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring and the forced resignation of dictator Hosni Mubarak.