Police disperse protests in Greater Cairo, dozens arrested

Monday 25-04-2016 05:18 PM

Protest at Messaha Square in Dokki, Giza on Apr. 25, 2016. Aswat Masriya

CAIRO, Apr. 25 (Aswat Masriya) – Egypt's security forces dispersed six protests in Cairo and Giza held in opposition to the sovereign transfer of the two Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia, a source form the Cairo Security Directorate said.

Several political forces and public figures called for protests on Apr. 25, which coincides with Sinai Liberation Day, against the Egyptian-Saudi maritime border demarcation agreement.

Dozens of protesters marched from Nahia street in the Giza district of Bulaq amid tight security measures adopted ahead of planned protests.

However, security forces dispersed the protest in Nahia using birdshots and arrested seven protesters who allegedly belong to the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, the security source added.

Another 13 were arrested in various parts of Greater Cairo in protests organised by the April 6 movement and the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the source.

Both groups were banned by court order following the ouster of former president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.  

Ahmed Fahmy of the April 6 movement, one of the factions that called for protests today, stressed that protests will continue and that protesters will reorganise themselves in different locations, which he preferred not to disclose.  

Also in Giza, protesters gathered in Messaha Square chanting "the people demand the fall of the regime" and "bread, freedom...those islands are Egyptian." The chants are reminiscent of the 18 days of the January 2011 uprising which toppled president Hosni Mubarak.

Journalist Basma Mostafa who was arrested earlier today from Tahrir Square, along with another journalist from Dotmsr, was later released from custody, according to her husband lawyer Karim Abdel Rady.

Other journalists and photographers have reportedly been arrested from various locations in Cairo and Giza. The Journalists Against Torture Observatory reported the arrest of two foreign journalists while covering the protest in Nahia.

Sixteen local human rights organisations released a statement on Monday calling on the state to release those arrested in connection with planned protests and to protect the constitutional right of peaceful protest.

They further called for the repeal of the protest law, which has been the epicenter of criticism since its adoption in November 2013.

The organisations said they hold police and military forces accountable for the safety of protesters on April 25.

Several lawyers reported that over 90 people across eight provinces have been arrested over the past four days, with the number expected to increase given the long list of arrest warrants seen at the prosecution, the organisations added in their statement.

Earlier on Monday, the chairman of the board of directors of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) was arrested from his home in the fifth settlement, West Cairo district, according to the ECRF's Facebook page.

"The policies of the current regime in Egypt have severely curtailed public space in Egypt. Security forces have been given free rein to use excessive force, including live ammunition against demonstrators," the rights groups stated.

Egypt's interior ministry tightened security measures including on trains, buses and in metro stations on the eve of the planned protests, with large numbers of central security forces deployed in order to "secure public facilities".

Sisi said in a speech on Sunday, in commemoration of Sinai Liberation Day, that the state will firmly stand in the face of attempts to destabilise the country and terrorise citizens.

facebook comments