CAIRO: Hundreds of riot police once again converged on downtown Cairo, Monday, in order to stem another demonstration, this time organized by the Nasserite Party in connection with Labor Day and labor laws in the country.
However, it was also used as a follow up in support of a previous demonstration showing solidarity for two judges, last Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as to show their anger over the renewal of the Emergency Laws yet again.
At 5:00 pm, protesters had gathered in downtown in order to march and show their frustration over the renewal of the laws. The demonstration never happened, as police swarmed the area, chasing after anyone they saw to be a part of the protest.
“Down with Mubarak, was one of the chants heard by the group of demonstrators.
“They began chasing us around the streets, one female protester tells The Daily Star Egypt. “It wasn’t as bad as last week, but still, when the guy started running after us when we got into a cab, I was pretty frightened.
Another protester, Bassem Khalifa, said the majority of the people were not being allowed to get near the Nasserite Party headquarters by the riot police.
“Security was horrible, really horrible, Khalifa tells The Daily Star Egypt. “People were being pushed around by plainclothes police away from Omar Effendi and the party headquarters.
According to him, there were at least seven large riot police trucks in front of the party headquarters and numerous smaller vehicles with countless numbers of police.
“Every side street had security on it and there were plainclothes government people all around, he said.
Khalifa and a group of demonstrators attempted to get near the party headquarters but were shoved away by a general in charge of the demonstration; they instead ducked into a local café to gauge the situation.
Eventually they left, but not before being spotted by plainclothes men who started to walk after them. They jumped in a cab and headed to the Hisham Mubarak center.
“As they [the plainclothes men] spotted us we were getting in a cab, but then they ran after us and started to yell at the taxi to pull over, he continues. “The taxi driver didn’t and we got away but they were after us.
According to Khalifa, at the Hisham Mubarak center people began to rally and the numbers grew to over 100. People were chanting “down with the labor laws.
Last Wednesday’s protest saw a number of violent acts against the protesters, while Monday’s demonstration didn’t see as many.
“I saw one girl who was laying on the ground surrounded by police with their clubs out, but who knows if she was beaten or not, says Khalifa.
Although the protest did not go as planned, it revealed the government’s strategy of using force in order to stem the tide of opposition that has been sweeping Egypt in recent months.
“They were out there to scare us away, but we won’t go back, a female demonstrator says.
The government is using the Emergency Laws to curtail civil liberties and stymie opposition growth, says George Ishaq, head of the secular opposition group Kefaya (Change).
“But we won’t stop, they can’t stop us and we will get Egypt back on its feet through activism like this and bringing the actions of the government to the forefront of news outlets, Ishaq says.
Reporters were barred from getting near the party headquarters by riot police as the protest began.