Socialist Worker

Protesters defy Egypt's new 'protest law'

Gigi Ibrahim reports from Cairo on the demonstrations which have erupted this week in response to a new anti-protest law. Police have killed a young student and arrested and assaulted many protesters

Issue No. 2381

The funeral today, Friday, of Mohamed Reda murdered by police

The funeral today, Friday, of Mohamed Reda murdered by police (Pic: Revolutionary Socialists)


The first protest to take place after the new law was passed was at noon on Tuesday. It marked the anniversary of the death of martyr Gika who was killed in the battle of “Mohamed Mahmoud Street 2” under the Mursi government in 2012.

The police dispersed it using water canon and tear gas and arrested protesters including renowned journalist and activist Rasha Azab. They let them go within a few hours.

Later at 4pm a protest in front of the Shura Council was called by the No Military Trials for Civilians group. Many other groups joined it including the Revolutionary Socialists, the 6 April movement and many independent activists.

The police presence was very strong. They wore new riot gear and a fire engine was parked in front of the pavement where we were protesting. Only a minute into the protest the police gave us a warning that they were going to disperse us by force.

Three minutes later they shot us with water. The riot police arrested many people, beating them harshly and sexually assaulting some female protesters. Tear gas was fired at the same time as the water canon. People were suffocating and ran from the beatings and the arrests.

I was filming everything till this point but once tear gas was fired next to me I started running with some other women protesters.  I got away but they got arrested.

Later I found out that they were beaten, sexually assaulted and dragged on the ground to be transferred to police station.

That night I went to the police station where they were held with others. The police offered to release the women but they refused unless all the detained were released.

Defiance

In response to their defiance the police beat the 17 women and dragged them into a police truck. They were driven around greater Cairo but because they hid their mobile phones they sent us text messages saying where they were. They were eventually driven off the road into the desert where there were beaten even more and dumped.

Because we could track their location we were able to drive and get them. They immediately came back to the police station and stood in solidarity with the rest of the protesters still being held. Six of these women have made an official a complaint against the police. They also wrote to the authorities saying they were politically responsible for calling the protest.

The women are Rasha Azab, Nazly Hussien, Mai Saad, Mona Seif, Salma Said, and Aida El Kashef.

During all this other revolutionary forces organised multiple protests calling for the release of all of the detained and the removal of the new protest law. These were mainly in central Cairo but they also took place in many other cities.

The prosecution has also ordered the arrest of Alaa Abdel Fattah and Ahmed Maher of 6 of April. They are accused of being responsible for the Shura No Military Trials protest which "didn't follow the new protest law". Alaa has announced he will turn himself in on Saturday.

Last night (Thursday) at around 10:30pm police raided Alaa's home and beat his wife when she asked to see an arrest warrant. Police also confiscated their laptops and mobile phones.

A few hours later an "anonymous" pro government group hacked Mona Seif's Facebook, twitter and emails.

Alaa is being accused of stealing walkie-talkies from police, protesting illegally, assaulting police officers and destroying public property. His interrogation has just ended and he will be transferred to Tora prison for four days pending investigation.

Funeral

But the protests are continuing despite the hostility we are facing. Anti-coup marches have also been taking place all day today and have faced police attacks of tear gas and water canon.

Yesterday was the first time that police entered Cairo university and fired tear gas and live bullets inside the university. They killed a first-year engineering student, Mohamed Reda. The morgue report says he was killed with three live bullets. Another protester lost an eye and many were injured.

Many more protests are planned to demand the end of the protest law and the immediate release of all the detained. We are also calling for the removal of interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

This "protest law" is being used to target and crack down on the revolutionaries to try and finish off the revolution.

But it will not stop us. We will continue to protest, strike, and express our political views. We won this right with the blood of revolutionaries and we will protect it until our revolution prevails and all of its demands are fulfilled.





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