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Posts tagged ‘Protests in Egypt’

Egypt journalists stage protest over police raid at union

May 02, 2016

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s journalists’ syndicate called for the dismissal of the interior minister and an immediate sit-in at its headquarters in downtown Cairo on Monday, to protest the police detention of two journalists on its premises the night earlier.

After an emergency meeting in the early hours of Monday morning, the group called for the “open-ended” sit-in to run through a Wednesday general assembly meeting and World Press Freedom day on May 3. Later Monday morning, dozens gathered at the steps of the building, chanting “journalists are not terrorists.” They plan for a larger demonstration Monday afternoon.

The syndicate described the police’s entry into the building as a “raid by security forces whose blatant barbarism and aggression on the dignity of the press and journalists and their syndicate has surprised the journalistic community and the Egyptian people.” Some syndicate members have said the raid was heavy-handed, involving dozens of officers and resulted in a security guard being injured.

Police denied they entered the building by force and said only eight officers were involved, who they said were acting on an arrest warrant for the two journalists — accused of organizing protests to destabilize the country. Unauthorized demonstrations in Egypt are banned, and demonstrators subject to arrest.

“The Ministry of Interior affirms that it did not raid the syndicate or use any kind of force in arresting the two, who turned themselves in as soon as they were told of the arrest warrant,” the ministry said in a statement.

The two journalists, Amr Badr and Mahmoud el-Sakka, are government critics who work for a website known as January Gate, also critical of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s government. It was unclear what size any sit-in at the syndicate could achieve. Police, backed by army troops, on Monday had initially barricaded the entire area and prevented people from approaching the building, but they eventually lifted the blockade. Still hundreds of uniformed and undercover police were deployed across central Cairo in order to prevent any protests.

A day earlier, police prevented hundreds of workers from holding a meeting at the building to commemorate International Workers’ Day, prompting independent trade union leaders to urge the government to allow them freedom of assembly.

The syndicate has invited the trade union leaders to join the sit-in to denounce the “raid” and protest restrictions on freedom of assembly for labor organizers. It said the move was illegal and violated its charter, which forbids police from entering the building without the presence of a syndicate official, and is urging police to end their “siege” of the building and stop preventing journalists from entering.

The journalists’ syndicate has been a rallying point for demonstrations in the past, and was blocked in a similar manner ahead of planned anti-government protests last Monday. The building drew particular attention because it was from there that some 2,000 demonstrators gathered last month to protest el-Sissi’s decision to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Police fired tear gas and arrested dozens to break up the protests, the first significant wave of street demonstrations since the former army chief became president in 2014.

A second round of mass demonstrations over the issue planned for last Monday were stifled by a massive security presence, with hundreds of arrests and only small flash mobs managing to assemble, drawing tear gas and birdshot from the riot police.

Egypt protests after el-Sissi gives islands to Saudi Arabia

April 15, 2016

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian security forces fired tear gas Friday at demonstrators protesting President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s decision to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Chants of “leave, leave!” directed at el-Sissi marked the first significant wave of street protests since the former army chief became president in 2014.

Riot police first cracked down on protesters in Cairo’s twin city of Giza, where demonstrators had gathered at two prominent mosques after Friday prayers and started marching toward Tahrir Square downtown. Many carried signs reading, “Land is Honor” and denouncing the surrender of the islands. Others chanted, “The people want the fall of the regime” and “Down with military rule!”

After police fired tear gas, the protesters ran in all directions, according to videos posted online by activists. Several photojournalists covering the protests were briefly detained near al-Istiqama mosque in Giza, according to witnesses at the scene who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared for their own safety.

All unauthorized demonstrations in Egypt are illegal and security forces have, in the past, used lethal force against peaceful demonstrators. Egypt’s state news agency quoted an unnamed official as saying that the protesters were members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group and that they chanted “anti-regime slogans.” The official said police responded with tear gas after protesters threw rocks at them.

Another demonstration of nearly 2000 protesters gathered outside the Press Syndicate downtown, a few meters from a collection of armored vehicles and hundreds of police in full riot gear who sealed off the surrounding streets. The protesters there chanted, “They sold our lands to the Saudis.” Except for a handful of bearded men and female protesters wearing full-face veils, there was little sign of an organized Islamist presence among the demonstrators.

“If we give up the lands now, there will be more future concessions for him to stay in power, for few more months,” said Alaa Morsi, one of the protesters, echoing a widely-held notion that el-Sissi essentially sold Egyptian territory in exchange for much-needed Saudi financial support, to shore up his rule.

What infuriated many was the secretive nature of the deal and particularly its timing. It was announced at the same time the Saudis were pledging billions of dollars of loans, causing critics and even some former el-Sissi supporters to accuse the president of a desperate and humiliating territorial sell-off.

“He should have told us before the deal,” said 28-year-old lawyer and protester Rania Rafaat, who was carrying a banner read, “el-Sissi sold his land, leave.” El-Sissi has defended his decision on the islands and tried to defuse the controversy.

The government maintains that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba belong to Saudi Arabia, which asked Egypt in 1950 to protect them from Israel. Israel captured the islands in the 1967 Middle East war, but handed them back to Egypt under their 1979 peace treaty.

In response, Egyptians have taken to social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter, posting numerous old maps to prove Egypt’s ownership of the islands. Though relatively small in number, the protests come at a time of public tension and tight security, underscoring increasing public discontent at el-Sissi’s rule since he was elected president in the summer of 2014. A year earlier, as army chief, he led the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi following mass protests against Morsi’s rule. El-Sissi also led the military’s crackdown on thousands of Islamists who staged sit-ins and rallies across Egypt to demand Morsi’s reinstatement. Thousands were imprisoned and hundreds killed in the crackdown.

El-Sissi is Egypt’s fourth president in six years, after millions of Egyptians revolted against the longtime autocratic President Hosni Mubarak and his police state in 2011. Hailed by his supporters at the time as the country’s savior, el-Sissi has faced a series of crises in recent months including a surging Islamic insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, a declining economy, and deeply disenchanted youth and democracy advocates who see him as another version of Mubarak.

Away from the capital, el-Sissi once again defended his decision to give up the islands to the Saudis, saying that they always rightfully belonged to Saudi Arabia and were only temporarily placed under Egyptian protection.

Speaking to a number of carefully-chosen youth in an under-construction Red Sea resort city, he promised to turn Egypt into a new economic and culture powerhouse. El-Sissi acknowledged in his lengthy speech that he kept the talks over the islands secret in order to avoid public debate which he perceived as harmful to Egyptian foreign relations.

The rare show of defiance, the Friday demonstration reinvigorated demands of retribution to killings of the youth protesters. Some protesters waved a banner carrying the picture of Mina Danial, a young protester killed when army troops crackdown in 2011. Others carried pictures of detained Islamists.

El-Sissi still retains a large base of support among Egyptians who fear for their security, and see him as the only protection against an Islamist takeover and state disintegration. At a small rally Friday in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria, dozens of supporters carried posters with photographs of the president and chanted, “We love you, el- Sissi!”

The calls for the Friday protests in Cairo prompted the Interior Ministry to beef up security in Tahrir Square, shutting down the Tahrir subway station and positioning dozens of police vehicles mounted by masked riot police around the square and the surrounding area.

Earlier, the state MENA news agency quoted an unnamed ministry official as saying police were “encircling” all the strategic routes into the capital. The official said the precautions would prevent “infiltration of the terrorist group” bent on causing chaos — a reference to Morsi’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The Islamist group, which has been declared a terrorist organization, had joined calls by secular and leftist groups for mass demonstrations over the islands issue. The Islamist presence in the Press Syndicate demonstration was relatively low, and some protesters prevented others from raising pro-Brotherhood signs. One Islamist protester who identified himself by an elias, Abu Shehab, told The Associated Press, “I am protesting against everything. El-Sissi is not fit to be a president.”

Egyptians protest after policeman kills driver

February 19, 2016

CAIRO (AP) — Disgruntled Egyptians beat up a policeman, blocked roads, and surrounded the local security headquarters late Thursday night after the officer killed a driver in a dispute. Egypt’s Interior Ministry media office said in a statement that the killing followed an argument over the sergeant’s fare for his ride in Cairo’s populous el-Darb el-Ahmar district. In the course of the dispute, the officer shot and killed the driver.

A second Interior Ministry statement called the shooting a “mistake.” Videos posted by the el-Masry el-Youm news website showed tearful residents displaying bloodstained sections of cardboard and saying the officer had verbally insulted the driver and when the latter objected, the policeman shot the driver in the head.

Egypt state-run news agency said the policeman was arrested. The incident highlighted ongoing tensions in Egypt over the behavior of the security forces. Last week, Egyptian doctors staged a large protest after police officers assaulted two emergency room doctors in a Cairo hospital.

Human rights groups say that a culture of impunity among the Egyptian security forces has led to widespread police brutality. Trials are rare and when they do occur, sentences are usually appealed and subsequently reduced.

Unrestrained police abuses were also one of the main contributing factors in the 2011 popular uprising that ousted longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power. Thursday’s incident comes after the body of an Italian student was found by a roadside in Cairo earlier this month, marked with cigarette burns and other signs of torture. Italy has demanded those responsible be brought to justice. Egypt has dismissed suggestions its security services could have been involved.

Egyptian protesters demand release of detained blogger, activists

By BNO News

CAIRO (BNO NEWS) — Dozens of Egyptian protesters on Tuesday gathered outside the Cairo Military Court to express solidarity with detained activists and protested against the ruling military council, the Al-Ahram daily newspaper reported.

Members of the “Free Maikel” group waited outside the military court in which detained blogger Maikel Nabil’s sentence is being appealed. Nabil, who has been on a hunger strike for 50 days and now weighs only 44 kilograms (97 pounds), was sentenced in August to three years in jail on charges of insulting the military after publishing a blog post entitled “The people and the army were never one hand.”

Activists chanted slogans against Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) as they waited outside for the verdict. They also called for the release of Ali Sultan and Khaled Saleh, two other civilians currently standing trial before military courts.

“I really don’t think he’ll be freed,” said group member John Milad. “The authorities have been extremely stubborn in regard to Maikel’s case, especially due to his opinions on Israel and the Egyptian army.”

Nabil has said that he would maintain his hunger strike until his release. He also has vowed to stop drinking water as well if Tuesday’s appeal trial fails to grant him his freedom, the newspaper reported.

According to reports, as many as 12,000 civilians have been hauled before military tribunals since February. Activists have been demanding that civilians only be tried by civil courts.

Last month, the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information noted a ‘sharp decline’ in freedom of opinion and expression in Egypt following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak during a revolution earlier this year. The human rights group condemned recent measures taken by the SCAF, which was handed the power to govern Egypt after the ouster of Mubarak, such as the return of Mubarak-era emergency laws.

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Source: Wire Update.

Link: http://wireupdate.com/news/egyptian-protesters-demand-release-of-detained-blogger-activists.html.

Protests to continue: Egypt Brotherhood

Fri Dec 26, 2014

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement says it will not negotiate with military-backed rulers in the country and will continue to organize its peaceful anti-government demonstrations, Press TV reports.

The outlawed Egyptian group made the remarks in a statement published on its official website.

The Muslim Brotherhood said it would not adhere to regional and international efforts aimed at finding a compromise until those responsible for the deaths of revolutionaries were brought to justice.

It added that the Brotherhood and its supporters would defeat what it called domestic and international sponsors of the military coup last year, referencing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

This came a day after supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsi held anti-government protests in Cairo and the city of Fayoum.

Similar protests have been held across the country in recent months.

Egypt has witnessed regular protest rallies since the July 2013 ouster of Morsi, who was the country’s first president democratically elected after the overthrow of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

According to rights groups, the army’s crackdown on pro-Morsi demonstrations has led to the deaths of over 1,400 people and the arrest of 22,000 others, including some 200 people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.

Morsi and his aides are currently on trial in several cases and could face the death penalty if convicted.  They are standing trial for what the military-backed court calls the destabilization of Egypt through collaborating with such groups as Palestinian resistance movement Hamas and Lebanese movement Hezbollah and leaking confidential information to foreign countries.

Source: PressTV.

Link: http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/391855.html.

Egypt police open fire on protesters, killing 5 people

Thu Aug 14, 2014

At least five people have been killed after Egyptian police opened fire on protesters marking the first anniversary of the mass killing of the supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo.

Police forces also wounded dozens of others across the country on Thursday.

The rallies were called by pro-Morsi Anti-Coup Alliance under the slogan “We Demand Retribution.”

On August 14, 2013, after then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Egypt’s first freely elected president, the security forces launched a brutal crackdown on thousands of the Morsi supporters at protest camps in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares, leaving hundreds of people dead.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on Tuesday that the assault was “one of the largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history.”

HRW said its report titled “All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt” identifies Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, Sisi, and top security official Medhat Menshawy as senior leaders who should face proceedings for the deadly crackdown at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

The New York-based international non-governmental organization added at least 817 demonstrators died due to the heavy-handed crackdown in Rabaa al-Adawiya.

“An international investigation and prosecutions of those implicated are needed… states should further suspend military and law enforcement aid to Egypt until it adopts measures to end its serious rights violations,” HRW said.

Since Morsi’s ouster on July 3 last year, Egypt has been the scene of anti-government protests with continuous clashes between security forces and Morsi’s supporters.

Rights groups say the government crackdown on the supporters of Morsi has left over 1,400 people dead, and at least 15,000 have been jailed. Hundreds of the former president’s supporters have so far been sentenced to death or long prison terms.

Source: PressTV.

Link: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/08/14/375292/egypt-police-kill-five-protesters/.

Egypt police attack anti-Sisi protesters

Thu Mar 27, 2014

Egyptian riot police have attacked anti-government protesters outside the Defense Ministry in Cairo, injuring several people.

Fresh protests were organized in Egypt in condemnation of military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s presidential nomination.Student protesters rallied in front of the defense ministry in the capital Cairo on Thursday.

Police moved in later and used tear gas and birdshot to break up the protest. Several injuries were reported in clashes there.

Similar demonstrations were held in several cities across Egypt the night before.

They came after Sisi announced his resignation as Egypt’s military chief to run for president.

State institutions and media are all geared toward Sisi’s candidacy, a situation which undermines the chances of a fair competition for any other candidate.

However, Egypt’s political parties and figures have repeatedly called on the country’s army to stay out of politics.

The field marshal helped overthrow the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi last year, following mass protests against his rule.

The UN Human Rights Council recently expressed concern over the Egyptian security forces’ heavy-handed crackdown and the killing of peaceful anti-government protesters.

Anti-government demonstrators have been holding rallies almost on a daily basis since the army toppled president Morsi. The demonstrators demand that Morsi be reinstated.

According to a UK-based rights group, Amnesty International, 1,400 people have been killed in the political violence since Morsi’s ouster in July last year, “most of them due to excessive force used by security forces.”

Source: PressTV.

Link: http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/356243.html.

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