The Central Security Forces (CSF) forcibly dispersed on Tuesday a protest organised by the Jika Movement condemning the newly-ratified Protest Law and denouncing “police brutality and military rule”.
Protesters gathered in Talaat Harb Square then moved to the Press Syndicate in Ramses Street. The CSF, positioned nearby with soldiers, trucks and APCs, initially left the group alone before the commanding officer ordered the protesters to disperse into the side-streets. The protesters then retreated due to their small numbers to Talaat Harb and Abdel Khaleq Tharwat streets.
On the latter street, protesters continued to chant against the police as the CSF used a water cannon against them. A rock thrown by one of the protesters prompted CSF soldiers to charge towards the protesters, sending them fleeing through the side streets.
Several protesters were arrested then released on site, including journalist Rasha Azzab. At least one protester was detained inside the APC, and at time of writing there had been no confirmation of his release.
The protest was organised by the Jika Movement on Tuesday to commemorate the death of Gaber Salah, (known as “Jika”, for whom the movement is named) and to demonstrate against the Protest Law.
Interim President Adly Mansour issued on the new Protest Law on Sunday after it had been drafted by the Ministry of Justice and approved by the cabinet to regulate the right to peaceful assembly. The law, which raised controversy among human rights activists, requires protesters to either protest in areas specified by the governorate or to obtain permission from the interior ministry before holding protests; otherwise protests will be dispersed according to the law.
Khalid Yassin, spokesman for the Jika Movement, said, “The movement will not recognise any law that would regulate protests until the goals of the revolution are fulfilled, transitional justice is achieved and the rights of all the martyrs are [realised].”
Jika, who had been a member of the 6 April Youth movement, died during the police dispersal of protests on 25 November 2012 in the first anniversary of the 2011 Mohamed Mahmoud street clashes.
The movement was launched on Monday 11 November following a last request from Jika that “the revolution continue” in the event of his death. The group says “Jika’s martyrdom” was the spark behind the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in July.
The movement has summarised its goals as: “transitional justice, retribution, and fulfilling the dreams of the martyrs by fulfilling the goals of the revolution to deliver a better social and democratic future for the country.”