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Egyptian Police Arrest Peaceful Protesters
Egyptian Police Arrest Peaceful Protesters
Egyptian police arrested at least 40 people for encouraging or participating in a nationwide strike on April 6. The strike was titled "The Day of Anger in Egypt." Participants in the protest left their homes and jobs to march the streets and voice their anger with the Egyptian government. In parliament, approximately 100 members of parliament stood up and walked out when Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif began speaking.
Friday, April 10,2009 22:52
by Nykoel Dinardo Impunity Watch

Egyptian police arrested at least 40 people for encouraging or participating in a nationwide strike on April 6.  The strike was titled "The Day of Anger in Egypt."  Participants in the protest left their homes and jobs to march the streets and voice their anger with the Egyptian government.  In parliament, approximately 100 members of parliament stood up and walked out when Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif began speaking.

In preparation for the protest, Egyptian authorities authorized police to arrest anyone seen participating.  Security forces and riot police were also deployed throughout Egypt.  Police arrested anyone they found supporting or connected to the protest.

Beginning on April 2, police began arresting students who were found encouraging others to protest.  Students Omneya Ahmed Taha Ghazi and Sara Mohammad Rizk were arrested at Kafr Al-Sheikh University for distributing flyers about the protest.  On April 4, the interior ministry ordered authorities to hold the two girls for at least fifteen more days.  According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), the girls are being kept in poor conditions in the station where they are being held.  ANHRI also states that police assaulted the girls after they were arrested.  However, no action is being taken against the arresting officers. 

On April 4, police took action against another group of students who engaged in a pre-strike sit-in outside the courthouse in the city of Karf Al-Shiekh.  According to human rights organizations, police attacked the student protesters, beating anyone they could catch.  Twenty-five students were arrested in all.  Five lawyers who were with the students were also beaten and arrested.  Again, no statement has been made regarding action against the arresting officers who participating in the beatings.

On April 6, the day of the strike itself, police continued to arrest participants all over Egypt.  According to Amnesty International (AI), protesters were arrested in Alexandria, Kafr al-Sheikh, Manufiyya, Port Said, Qalyubiyya, Sharqiyya and Fayoum and at Ain Shams University.  AI calls on Egypt to release the participants unconditionally, claiming that the arrests are in violation of the participants human rights.

Egyptian emergency laws, which have been continuously in place since 1981, prohibit most protests and demonstrations.  Those who were arrested in connection with the protests have been charged with "incitement to strike" and "distributing leaflets calling for a national strike" under these laws.  This is the second year that groups have tried to organize a strike.

For more information, please see:

Amnesty International USA - Egyptian Authorities Urged to Release Peaceful Protesters - 7 April 2009

BBC - Egyptian Police Stifle Protests - 6 April 2009

AFP - Protesters Arrested on Egypt "Day of Anger" - 6 April 2009

AFP - Arrests in Egypt Ahead of Nationwide Strike - 5 April 2009

AFP - Egypt Police Beat, Detain Students Ahead of Strike - 4 April 2009

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information - Egypt; Interior Minister Mobilizes its Forces to Face Two Students Renewing the Detention of Sarah Rezk and Amina Taha for Fifteen Days - 4 April 2009

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