Sunday / September 23.
HomeMiddle EastOpen Source: Egyptian Women Defy Protest Ban to Call for Release of Political Prisoners

Open Source: Egyptian Women Defy Protest Ban to Call for Release of Political Prisoners

Open Source

By ROBERT MACKEY

Dozens of Egyptian women on Sunday defied a nationwide ban on unsanctioned street protests, rallying for an hour outside the presidential palace in Cairo to demand the release of political prisoners.

The demonstration, staged where 23 opposition activists were arrested a year ago while marching against the protest ban, was called by organizers a “stand,” a form of peaceful assembly used during the Hosni Mubarak era by activists who would gather silently in solidarity with Khaled Said, a victim of police brutality whose death in custody was a catalyst for the 2011 uprising.

The women — among them mothers, sisters and daughters of those detained for violating the ban — held up placards with the images of the prisoners and called for their release.

The action was documented online by activists and journalists, although the police apparently sought to block filming of the demonstration, some arguing to Claire Read, a BBC correspondent, that the ban on unsanctioned protests also extended to reporting on them.

Officers and men in civilian clothes who were assisting them also appeared to have attempted to block the protest from the view of passing motorists.

Among the protesters was Mona Seif, an advocate for the rights of political prisoners known as @MonaSosh to her hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. Ms. Seif, who held a Ramadan lamp along with a placard, is the sister of two detainees: Alaa Abd El Fattah, a prominent blogger who was jailed in late 2013 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for challenging the protest ban, and Sanaa Seif, a film editor, who was among the demonstrators arrested last June.

The women managed to resist efforts by the police to end their rally before the scheduled hour was up, according to Ms. Seif’s aunt, Ahdaf Soueif, a prominent writer.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

(via NY Times)