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Egyptians Are Asking Their Government "Does This Camera Phone Scare You?"

The series of cell phone-wielding selfies sprung up after a satirical comedy group was arrested and charged with mocking the president.

Last updated on May 12, 2016, at 5:39 a.m. ET

Posted on May 11, 2016, at 9:09 p.m. ET

Earlier this week, Egyptian authorities arrested members of the satirical group Awlad el-Shawarea — which means “Street Children” — for mocking the president.

The group has gathered a huge following since 2011 for their unedited videos, taken on cell phone selfie style.

In response, Egyptians began tweeting out pictures of themselves holding their cell phones with the hashtag #الحريه_لأطفال_الشوارع — or ‪#‎Freedom‬_for_street kids — with many adding the caption: "Does this cell phone scare you?"

الضحك مش عيب .. ولو لسه خايف بطل تكون مهزأ والناس هتبطل تتريق عليك .. #الحرية_لأطفال_الشوارع

"Laughing is not improper ....if you are still scared stop making a fool of yourself and people would stop making fun of you," human rights activist Sherif Mansour wrote.

The hashtag spread quickly on both Facebook and Twitter, where it trended.

Facebook: muhamed.elnajjar

"Street kids taught us a lesson: you don't need a media company, mobile camera and internet is enough to make them scared," this user posted.

Famed comedian Bassem Yousseff got in on the action, sending his own cell phone picture and an old picture he took along with Street Children.

كاميرا التليفون بتهزك #الحرية_لاطفال_الشوارع

People from all walks of life got in on the action, like politician Mohamed Naeem...

Facebook: mohamed.naeem.14811

"Since cameras scare you, I thought I should zoom in," he wrote.

...and actor Amr Waked.

كاميرة التليفون بتهزك؟ #الحرية_لأطفال_الشوارع

"Does a phone camera scare you?" these hijab-wearing women asked as well.

كاميرة التليفون بتهزك؟ #الحرية_لأطفال_الشوارع

Also Batman, because sure, why not?

Even Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted after the Jan. 25 revolution in 2011, got to join the fun, thanks to the magic of Photoshop.

In the words of Beyoncé: "Middle fingers up / Tell 'em boy, bye."

الكاميرا بتهزّك؟ #الحرية_لاطفال_الشوارع


An earlier version of this post inaccurately identified a photoshopped image of Hosni Mubarak as Abdel Fatah el-Sisi.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.