Police attack activists mobilising support for Free Mahienour campaign
Interior Ministry forces attacked a press conference in the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights in Alexandria on 22 May, arresting a number of activists and beating others. They also sexually assaulted women protesters. The detainees were held at the Alexandria Security Directorate before being released later the same day.
The press conference was called by the Front to Defend Rights and Freedoms to launch the campaign “Freedom for Mahienour and the brave activists of Alexandria … down with the anti-protest law” with speeches from comrades Haitham Mohamedain, Dr Taher Mukhtar and Ranwa Yusuf from the Revolutionary Socialists and the lawyer Khaled Ali. Mahienour el-Masry was imprisoned and fined 50,000 LE on 20 May after being charged with breaching the anti-protest law for organising a demonstration outside one of the hearings in the Khaled Said case.
At the end of the press conference activists organised a human chain on the coast road in the Camp Cesar area in front of the ECESR offices. Within moments the demonstrators were attacked by Interior Ministry troops from the Central Security Forces, led by Nasr al-Abd, head of the secret police in Alexandria, who beat and dragged away fourteen activists, including Taher Mukhtar, Mustafa Anwar and Muhammad Khalil.
In Cairo, workers’ leaders pledged their support for the campaign to free Mahienour at a meeting held at the Centre for Socialist Studies in Giza. Leading trade unionists from the Ministry of Labour, Petrotrade, Misr Spinning in Mahalla, Nasr Cars, Steam Boilers Company, teachers, electricity workers and public transport workers’ unions agreed to launch a petition campaign to demand the release of political activists from the regime’s prisons.
Tamer Faiz, a member of the free union in Mahalla said “the regime is targeting activists who are standing with the workers’ movement, particularly in recent times when the regime has brutally attacked the poor.”