Egypt police dump opposition leader in suburbs

Egypt police dump opposition leader in suburbs

Egyptian police took the 70-year-old leader of the opposition Kefaya movement from a protest in central Cairo on Thursday and dumped him in a desert suburb about 20 km (12 miles) out of town, he said.

Abdel Wahhab el-Messiri said that he and his colleagues were taking part in a protest against high prices and in commemoration of 1977 Cairo bread riots during which security forces killed more than 70 people.

The protesters were standing in the street near Sayeda Zeinab square when police officers asked them to move, Messiri told Reuters by phone on his way back from the suburbs.

“When we refused, they got some thugs and put us in a minibus, six or seven of us along with an old man who just happened to be passing. They took us on a one and a half hour drive and left us in the open air,” he added.

“This is a very cowardly way to treat the opposition,” said Messiri, best known as a scholar of Zionism.

Witnesses said the riot police presence prevented the demonstration from taking place.

Kefaya was formed in late 2004 to oppose another term for President Hosni Mubarak or any attempt to install his son Gamal as his successor.

The movement, a loose alliance of liberals, leftists and Islamists, began to lose impetus after Mubarak won presidential elections by a large margin in September 2005.

Messiri said that after half an hour in the desert a driver took pity on them and offered them a free lift back to Cairo. Continued…