CAIRO: On a day when the world came together in opposition of torture worldwide, activists came together for a surprise demonstration in front of the Sayeda Zeinab police station. The demonstration aimed to show solidarity with the campaign to end torture across the globe.
Sayeda Zeinab police station was chosen because it is known for using extreme measures with detainees. Last May 25, during the demonstrations against the referendum, journalist Abir Al Askary was detained and taken to the police station, where she was allegedly forced to endure torture and abuse.
“We are going to Sayeda Zeinab because it is the most known place where torture and abuse take place, Ahmed El Droubi, a Kefaya activist, says before heading to the demonstration.
He wore a shirt with Mohamed El Sharkawy’s picture printed on the front; Sharkawy was allegedly tortured and sexually abused by security forces following his detention on May 25, after a peaceful demonstration at the journalist’s syndicate.
A little more than a dozen activists gathered on the sidewalk next to the police station around noon, displaying posters against the use of torture. One poster read “June 26, the international day against torture.
While the demonstration was not large in comparison to previous protests, it did receive some inquisitive questions from passers by.
As one man left, he said “God bless you.
However, tension began to rise when a plainclothes official came over asking the demonstrators to vacate the premises. A man from the street stopped and began to explain that he, the official, should leave them alone.
“From a father to a son, listen to me, the man began. “Let them do what they want because the people don’t really care anyway.
He continued his conversation with an LA Times reporter off to the side of the demonstration, after succeeding in allowing the demonstration to continue. “There are three ways to rule, the man told the reporter. “First, you can rule through religion . like Gamal Abdel Nasser or, third, you can rule like Mubarak . which one do you guys want?
Making their face present at the demonstration were Alaa Seif Al Islam and El Droubi, both having been released in recent weeks from detention.
Both he and El Droubi said they were not worried about getting arrested again.
“We are not worried about getting arrested at all, El Droubi says. “It is small and just to make a point of solidarity against torture . people will hopefully ask us questions and it can be a learning place for others who don’t really know what is going on.
El-Droubi added that we did not announce the staging of this demonstration, except to a few trusted journalists, because if state security forces had known about it before hand it would have been forcefully dispersed and we wouldn t have a chance to get our message across.
Scheduled for late Monday night is a meeting involving activist groups across the nation to develop a plan of action for the coming year. As of press time no details were available.