CAIRO – At least 100 people were arrested in Egypt after taking part in pro-Palestinian demonstrations late last week, though some have subsequently been released, lawyers working on the cases said on Tuesday.
State-approved protests against Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were held at several locations in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt on Friday.
However, some protesters in Cairo walked to Tahrir Square – the centre of Egypt’s 2011 uprising – which was not among the sites approved for the pro-Palestinian demonstration. The protesters were quickly dispersed by security personnel.
Unauthorised public protests are banned in Egypt, and Tahrir Square, which was redesigned several years ago, is heavily monitored by security services because of its symbolic status.
“Around 40 of the arrests were in Cairo, 65 in Alexandria, and a few from other provinces. Fourteen of the detainees from Cairo were summoned to the public prosecutor’s office,” human rights lawyer Nabeh Elganadi said.
At least 18 detainees from Cairo were released on Monday “and that number is likely to rise”, he added.
Judicial officials and an interior ministry spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has overseen a long crackdown on dissent across the political spectrum during nearly a decade in power.
Rights groups say tens of thousands have been jailed on political grounds and without due process, something Egyptian authorities deny.
Those detained over recent days and after the protests included some supporters of a campaign by former member of parliament Ahmed Tantawy to stand against Sisi in presidential elections due in December, said Elganadi and Belal Habib, a legal advisor to the campaign.
Tantawy quit the campaign after complaining that his supporters had been harassed and arrested as he tried to gather the 25,000 public endorsements required to stand, accusations that Egypt’s election authority said were unfounded. REUTERS
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