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Rabaa 1-year anniversary sees increasing detentions

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Daqahleya police arrest two people for distributing video footage of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Nahda dispersals. Abdeen Court denies anniversary protesters’ appeal

An Egyptian security forces’ armoured vehicle drives amid remains of a protest camp by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Mursi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood after a crackdown on August 14, 2013 near Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD KHALED)

An Egyptian security forces’ armoured vehicle drives amid remains of a protest camp by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood after a crackdown on August 14, 2013 at  Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.
(AFP PHOTO / MAHMOUD KHALED)

The Abdeen Misdemeanour Court refused Monday the appeal of three defendants arrested on the 14 August, the one-year anniversary of the violent dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins.

The three protesters, Mustafa Kamel, Mohamed Attia, and Karim Abd Al-Haq will remain detained for another 15 days in case number 3309, said the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).

They are charged with protesting, assembling, cutting off roads, and carrying banners inciting against the ruling regime.

Ahmed Osman, a lawyer for AFTE, said that four student protesters, one female and three males, were arrested as they were sitting in a café in downtown Cairo. The three males were taken to Abdeen Police Station.

Osman added that they were arrested after they marched around downtown Cairo carrying banners that read, “Morsi is not coming back” and “Sisi is a killer”.

Three-hundred and seven people were arrested throughout Egypt on the one-year anniversary of Rabaa Al-Adaweya, according to Hany Abdel-Latif, the media spokesman for the Ministry of Interior

“Four people are not even considered a real march,” Osman said. “They were not arrested while marching. Police forces arrested them afterwards as they were sitting in the café.”

Other protests to commemorate the dispersal of the sit-in took place in Giza, Matariya, Ain Shams, Maadi, Helwan, and other governorates outside of Cairo.  At least 80 people were arrested in Cairo, including a number of journalists, Osman said.

Security forces killed over ten protesters on the Thursday and Friday that marked the anniversary of the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the dispersal likely left over 1,000 protesters dead.

In a recently released HRW report entitled “All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killing of Protesters in Egypt”, the international watchdog called the Egyptian security forces’ dispersal of the sit-ins a “crime against humanity”.

“The police forces are fabricating charges,” Osman said. “They were afraid of what would happen on the anniversary of the dispersal.” He also said that marches that day were not too big.

Meanwhile in Daqahleya, police arrested two people on Monday. The two arrested are reportedly a 23-year old and a 50-year old teacher distributing CDs of the dispersals’ footage to a village in the governorate.

The two are charged with possession of “publications inciting against the military and police”, in case number 12659, state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

Since the Rabaa Al-Adaweya dispersal, there have been several cases of Egyptian police arresting protesters for carrying pins, wearing shirts, and in one case carrying yellow balloons symbolising the dispersal.

Protesters have changed their tactics since the dispersal last year. Instead of holding large demonstrations in one place, they have held a more limited number of smaller protests in more densely populated areas to avoid clashing with security forces.


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