We protested outside the court when police convicted of murdering Khaled Said in Alexandria during 2010 were being retried this month. The case is an important one in the Egyptian Revolution.
Khaled’s murder showed the brutality of the regime and police against the people. It showed the torture that was part of everyday life. It was part of what brought people onto the streets in 2011.
The way our recent protest was treated shows that the police are still the same. And we know that they are still torturing people in police stations.
After 3 July when the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi was removed as president, there was all this talk of “reconciliation” with the army and police. People said police have changed.
But they haven’t. The new protest law is now being used against us in Alexandria. Outside the court we got together on the pavement and chanted, “We will not forget police brutality! We will not forget Khaled Said!”
The second most senior security officer in Alexandria got on a megaphone and said we were on an illegal protest. He announced they would move in to break it up in ten minutes.
Immediately they turned water hoses on us. Then they beat several protesters. One of our comrades in the Revolutionary Socialists, a doctor, was beaten with an illegal weapon—an American stick—made of metal. We were showered with his blood.
We moved away to the other side of road. Then they started spraying us with pepper spray and tear gas. Pepper spray entered the comrade’s large wound. They arrested several people. One was a young man who was just passing by on his way to campus and had started running to get away from tear gas.
They are still in detention. We went to the police station to ask when they would be released. The police said their detention had been extended, which is illegal. Activists are being arrested in many parts of Egypt. Arrest warrants have been issued for me and other activists.
When I heard this I stopped being active for two days, but then I thought, “This isn’t right. We are not criminals”. I have been to the security directorate to bring food and clothes for comrades in detention.
If they want to take us they know where we are. The protest law is about holding back our movement so people get scared and stop being active. It isn’t about attacking the Brotherhood—they have made them illegal already. It isn’t about stopping terrorism as they claim. It is about stopping the workers’ movement
We have had a bit of a wave of strikes in recent weeks.We are seeing many movements in workplaces and factories and protests in universities.
We have the problem that many people still have illusions that the police and army will bring stability. But we have seen this before and people are now awakening and beginning to see through these lies.
In Alexandria our priorities are stopping the protest law and our other target is the constitution. So I am optimistic. The military will not stop our struggle. We will show we are not afraid.