CAIRO: Protestors demonstrated outside the Egyptian embassy in London Thursday against the trial of 49 people in an Egyptian exceptional court.
Carrying banners reading “solidarity with the people of Mahalla and “no to trials in emergency courts the roughly 15 protestors from a variety of political groups attempted to present a letter and a petition condemning the trial to embassy officials.
Journalist Blake Sifton told Daily News Egypt that police officers denied protestors permission to approach the embassy as a group.
Instead, three protestors posted the letter and petition through the embassy door after officials refused to meet the delegation or receive the letter and petition.
Lindsey German, representing the Stop the War Coalition, Rob Owen from the National Executive of the National Union of Students, Sami Ramadani and Sabah Jawad from Iraqi Democrats against the Occupation presented the petition to the embassy.
They were joined in the demonstration by trade unionists, students and representatives of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.
The trial of the 49 defendants in the Tanta emergency high state security court is scheduled to begin today.
The group of 48 men and 1 woman were arrested after protests broke out in the Delta town of Mahalla over hiked food prices.
The protests followed the collapse on the same day of a strike by 27,000 workers in a spinning factory in the town caused in part by security body intimidation.
Rights groups have condemned the excessive force – including live ammunition – which police bodies used against what eyewitnesses say was a peaceful demonstration.
The group – five of whom are at large – will be tried in a state security emergency court on what lawyers allege are spurious, trumped-up charges including “criminal damage to public and private property, assault of a public official, unlawful assembly of more than five people and illegal possession of weapons.
Some of the group allege that they were tortured while in police custody. If convicted, they face prison sentences of up to 10 years.