Police seize video footage, mobile phones to remove all traces of repression
Police seize video footage, mobile phones to remove all traces of repression
Saturday, April 10,2010 19:57
By Bikya Masr Staff

When police used violence to disperse a demonstration by about 100 people outside parliament on 6 April they also targeted journalists covering the event, one of several protests against a 29-year-old state of emergency that were held in the center of Cairo that day in response to a call by the 6 April Movement.

“The violence used by the police in an attempt to suppress any visual record of this demonstration was particularly disturbing,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Journalists were deliberately targeted by the security forces. This is utterly unacceptable. The authorities cannot continue to ignore the 6 April protests.”

The authorities are cracking down harder on democratic demands in the run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for the end of this year and a presidential election next year.

The appeal to Egyptians to gather on Midan Al-Tahrir, in central Cairo, on 6 April had been issued several days earlier by the 6 April Movement, which is campaigning for a number of constitutional amendments and which gets its name from the date of democratic protests that were organized via Facebook in 2008.

“When I arrived at the Tahrir at midday, I did not see any demonstrators, just security forces,” a journalist told Reporters Without Borders. “So I headed towards parliament, further up Avenue Qasr Al-Ayni. Outside the senate gates, a cordon of anti-riot police surrounded the demonstrators. Policemen in plain-clothes were passing through the cordon in order to extract the demonstrators and journalists by force.”

The police briefly arrested Hisham Omar Abdelhalim of the independent daily Al-Masri Al-Youm, an Al-Karama journalist and a freelance journalist, whose press card and video camera were confiscated. He recovered them half an hour later but the memory card had been removed.

Al Jazeera TV’s Cairo bureau chief, Hussein Abdel Ghani, told Agence France-Presse that his cameramen were searched and their video footage was confiscated. Many demonstrators said the mobile phones they had used to take photos or record video were also confiscated.

Egyptian and international NGOs said about 90 people were detained, including a journalist working for Egyptian Dream TV who was taken to one of the national security buildings in Madinet Nasr before being released.

Republished with permission frombikya masr