6 more people detained for calling for protests on 11 November

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read
Students protest inside the Cairo University campus on the first day of the 2014-2015 academic year (Photo by AHmed Al-Malky)

East Cairo Prosecution decided on Monday to detain six more people for 15 days pending investigations, on charges of calling for protests on 11 November.

An online Facebook campaign, Underprivileged Revolution, engaged more than 100,000 followers in a month. It remains unclear who is behind the campaign or its objectives, but many of the campaign posts protested the recent price hikes in light of the national currency devaluation.

The six defendants are Al-Azhar University students. They are charged with inciting the use of violence against the regime, attempting to change the Constitution, inciting people to storm police stations, and belonging to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

Furthermore, they were charged with posting “inflammatory” leaflets and distributing them in public places. Those leaflets criticised the price hikes.

More people were also arrested in early October on similar charges.

Mainstream media outlets have also been widely criticising the calls for protest on 11 November and described those initiating the calls as traitors, even though most of these outlets had actually time and again criticised the unreasonably high price hikes.

Following the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013, and the issuance of the Protest Law, dozens were arrested on similar charges.

Ahmed Osman, lawyer at the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), told Daily News Egypt that the law permits the arrest of people who call for the protest, even if the protest did not yet take place.

According to Osman, these kinds of arrests are not likely to threaten other calls for protests, especially if these calls are wide-reaching.

In April, when President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi signed a maritime demarcation deal with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to transfer the sovereignty of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, there were calls for protests on 15 and 25 April.

Ahead of these protest dates, some people were arrested on charges of calling for protests. Also leading up to the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution, police forces arrested in mid-December 2015 more than 47 Facebook page admins on alleged charges of calling for protests.

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