Stop the Repression in Egypt!
Free all political prisoners and detainees, end the beatings, sexual assault and detention of peaceful protesters.
No to military trials of civilians, no to repressive constitutional measures
Statement initiated by the MENA Solidarity Network-US
(To sign on to this statement please post at https://www.facebook.com/MENASolidarityUS or leave a reply at https://menasolnetus.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/stop-the-repression-in-egypt/ )
On November 24th the Egyptian government passed a law regulating protests which would end the right of assembly. To prove that they were serious about ending protest, two days later, on November 26th, the regime violently attacked a protest in Cairo called to demand an end to military trials of civilians, a longstanding demand of the revolution. In recent weeks we have also seen passage of clauses for the proposed new Constitution which several limit the right to protest and organize, as well as ensuring further subordination of the rights of workers, students, women and all oppressed groups to the regime and its foreign backers in government and business.
The attacks by the regime against the anti-military trial protest in Cairo resulted in dozens of arrests. 21 arrested women were driven out to the desert and dumped after having been beaten and sexually harassed by the police. 24 men arrested with them remain in jail, and a kangaroo court announced they would be held for 15 days. Arrest warrants were issued for leading movement figures such as April 6th Youth Movement co-founder Ahmed Maher, as well as leading blogger and organizer Alaa Abd El Fattah. Even though the latter had announced publicly two days before that he would turn himself in on Saturday as part of taking credit for helping to organize Tuesday’s protests, on November 28th police burst into his house, beat his wife, and stole phones and computers from his home. (For more information, see Kareen Fahim, “Egyptian Riot Police Attack Peaceful Protests in Cairo,” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/world/middleeast/egyptian-riot-police-attack-peaceful-protests-in-cairo.html)
These attacks follow the military’s ongoing repression of the Muslim Brotherhood, including violent attacks on protests by its supporters and the imprisonment of peaceful protesters. For example, a court handed down prison sentences of 11 years each for 14 young women simply for participating in a peaceful protest against repression. Seven more, girls too young for prison, were sent to a juvenile detention center until they reach legal age. (For more information, see Maggie Michael And Sarah El Deeb, “Egypt: Heavy prison sentence for Islamist women,” Nov. 27, 2013, http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-heavy-prison-sentence-islamist-women-220632317.html.)
Numerous reports of torture of the above detainees have already come out, and as Alaa’s mother pointed out, if they would brutalize the family so viciously in their home, what will they do to detainees in prison?
Other prominent figures arrested include Mona Seif (sister of Alaa Abd El Fattah), founder of the campaign against military trials of civilians, and Ahmad Harara, a dentist who lost an eye to regime guns in an anti-Mubarak protest and then had the other shot out in a protest against military rule the following year.
In response to these attacks protests have broken out in several Egyptian cities already, including Suez, Alexandria, Fayoum, and of course Cairo. On November 28th the regime fired into a crowd at the University of Cairo, killing one student and putting out another’s eye.
It is important to understand the context of these attacks. The Egyptian people have never given up hope that the Revolution’s goals of freedom, social justice and dignity can be achieved. Their determination to do so is abundantly evident in such recent actions as the two week old strike of Samadoun textile workers, whose sit-in on rail tracks was violently dispersed by police on November 16th. It is also seen by the sit-in which began November 26th at the Hilwan Iron and Steel Co. plant. Meanwhile a wave of student strikes and occupations has spread in recent days to several campuses in Cairo and Alexandria, and likely beyond. This determination to continue the revolution is what the regime fears most of all and is the main motivation behind their new repressive legislation and their vicious attacks.
Supporters of the Egyptian Revolution in the US note with outrage the fact that US tax money pays for, and manufactures, the weapons used to wound, blind and murder peaceful protesters.
In response to all the above, we demand:
Free all prisoners and detainees; end beatings, torture, sexual assault and detention of peaceful protesters; rescind the anti-protest law and repressive constitutional clauses.
No to military trials of civilians, no to repressive constitutional measures.
What you can do:
* Call the Egyptian consulate/mission/embassy in your city; hold a picket in front of it; text/email/message/tweet a statement of protest to the Egyptian authorities. Their contact information can be found here: http://eg.embassyinformation.com/
* Send copies of your protest messages to the Facebook or WordPress addresses above.