CAIRO: On Tuesday evening, a few hundred activists demonstrated in front of the press syndicate, calling for the release of fellow pro-democracy activists currently detained. Among the demonstrators were several recently released detainees who showed up dressed in white, a tribute to what they were forced to wear while in detention at Tora prison.
Kamal Khalil, a leading socialist activist and his colleagues, Wael Khalil and Ibrahim El Sahary, both returned from time spent in jail. In turn, they led the demonstration in opposition chants.
Kamal Khalil denounced any possible talks between the opposition and the National Democratic Party (NDP) as “unlikely to be constructive and worthless while opposition activists remain in prison.
Security forces surrounded the syndicate, while plainclothes soldiers with batons in hand remained off to the periphery. No scuffles were witnessed and it was not difficult for activists and journalists to enter the syndicate.
Following the hour-long demonstrations on the steps of the syndicate, a conference was held inside, where some of the released detainees took to the podium to share their experiences.
Activists condemned the U.S. support for President Hosni Mubarak and Israel, saying that the movement for change in Egypt sees its democracy cause to be “organically linked to other regional causes, most importantly Palestine and Iraq.
The socialist activists remembered the losses of leading socialists while they were behind bars. “Rest in peace, Khalil said in remembrance to Ahmed Nabil El Hilaly, Youssef Darwish and Ahmed Abdallah Rozza. “I want to assure Hilaly the socialist movement has been revived. The communists in Egypt are only getting stronger day by day. You taught us a lot and we will not fail you.
As the activists left the syndicate, word of the Israeli invasion into Gaza began to gain wind. Messages began to shower mobile phones from friends in Gaza.
“Where is democracy going to take us if western countries can simply take that away from us on a whim? an activist asked. “We are striving for democratic change but will the U.S. or other western countries respect our choices.
Mohamed El Sharkawy, Karim El Shaer and approximately 700 Muslim Brotherhood activists remain in detention for demonstrations across the country in support of the judges and solidarity with other activists who had been imprisoned.
With the recent jailing of Al Destour editor Ibrahim Eissa and a colleague, activists say that they will continue the effort to bring about change through peaceful means.