CAIRO: A demonstration organized yesterday afternoon by opposition group Kefaya Movement for Change drew around 200 people and saw brief clashes with the police.
The protest was organized exactly a week after a demonstration by the April 6 Youth Movement was violently put down by the police. The response of the police to protests was one of the reasons Jeanette Abdel-Alim had come to protest, she told Daily News Egypt.
“People have come in these numbers to object to what happened last week. This is the first time the government uses female police officers against us so that they can avoid the accusation of sexual assault [by female protestors], Abdel-Alim explained.
Abdel-Alim was one of over 100 people detained during last week’s protest. She alleges that a female police officer forced her to strip naked in a downtown Cairo underground parking lot where detainees were held before being put in police trucks.
Abdel-Alim said that such tactics would not stop her attending protests.
“We’ve come here to say that we’ll go down into the streets again despite what happened last Tuesday. They think that what they do to us will scare us, and scare other people into not joining us, Abdel-Alim said.
“We’re here a week after what happened to say that the street is ours.
Members of the Karama and Ghad Parties, the April 6 Youth Movement, the National Coalition for Change and Egyptian Women for Change were present at the protest in addition to Kefaya.
MP Hamdeen Sabahy and Ayman Nour, who have both recently announced their intention to stand in the 2011 presidential elections, also attended.
Ahmed Maher, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement explained that Tuesday’s protest would be the first in a series of demonstrations, adding that the emergence of Mohamed ElBaradei on Egypt’s political scene to head the National Coalition for Change has “reinvigorated the Movement.
Protestors called for constitutional change, an end to the state of emergency and for an end to the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Clashes broke out twice when protestors attempted to storm the barricades penning them in the area outside the public prosecution office which was lined with riot police and plain-clothed officers. On the first attempt protestors succeeded in pushing the barriers back roughly five meters before riot police reinforcements were called.
Police responded with violence to a protestor, Bahaa Saber, who started chanting in the street outside the penned-in area. He was initially left to chant until joined by another protestor, Sayed Ragab.
A group of plain-clothed policemen then began hitting Saber, who fainted. When Ragab intervened he too was physically attacked by a group of about five officers who punched and kicked him until he lost consciousness.
Saber, who had by this time regained consciousness, was again grabbed by officers who eventually bundled him into a passing taxi before getting in themselves and sitting on top of him. The taxi left to an unknown destination.
After he had regained consciousness Ragab told Daily News Egypt that he planned to file a complaint about the assault after which he would have his injuries checked in hospital.
Asked why the police had reacted with violence towards him, Ragab said, “it’s because Mubarak doesn’t want us to have freedom, to have freedom of speech, to say that his regime is corrupt.
You can watch Daily News Egypt s video report here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFnS_YLtgbE