Last Update 18:21
Monday, 14 October 2019

Egypt's Interior Ministry justifies Tuesday protest dispersals

Interior Ministry accuses demonstrators of blocking roads and hurling stones at police

Ahram Online, Tuesday 26 Nov 2013
riot big
File photo: Riot police take positions (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 1631
Views: 1631

Egypt's Interior Ministry justified Tuesday evening the dispersal by security forces of a protest organised outside the Shura Council in downtown Cairo against a constitutional article allowing military courts to try civilians.

The ministry said in a statement published on its Facebook page that around 200 protesters gathered in front of the Parliament's Upper house, breaking a protest law enforced Sunday, as the protest's organisers did not notify authorities about the gathering.

The ministry added that protesters blocked the main road in front of the Shura council. It said security forces warned protesters and called on them to disperse, but that the demonstrators did not comply.

The ministry accused protesters of hurling stones at security forces, a move that prompted them to use water cannons to disperse demonstrators.

According to Ahram Online's reporter present at the scene, police forces used water cannons and then teargas to disperse the rally within a few minutes.

The ministry said it had arrested 28 "rioters" and filed a complaint that still needs to be investigated by the general prosecution.

Security forces also arrested several human rights activists, including Mona Seif and Salma Saed.

Protesters gathered to denounce a constitutional article that allows the trial of civilians in military courts.

Thirty members of Egypt's 50-member constitutional committee voted in favour of the article, seven against, with two abstentions. The remaining 11 were absent. Another vote is set to take place in the coming days for the article to be adopted in the final draft of the new constitution.

The text of the article mandating military trials in certain cases refers to direct attacks on military premises, camps, properties and factories; attacks on military zones and border areas, and attacks on military vehicles or personnel while they are carrying out their duties. Crimes related to military documents, secrets or funds are also included in the article.

Protesters also denounced a controversial protest law enforced Sunday, which allows security forces to disperse protests if they are not authorised by the Interior Ministry.

Particularly controversial articles include requiring protest organisers to notify authorities three days in advance of a protest's demands and imposing heavy jail terms and fines on individuals who break the law.

In its Tuesday statement, the Interior Ministry also said it warned 6-April founding member Ahmed Maher, claiming he had called for the protest. It added it has advised Maher to refer to the local police station to obtain authorisation for the protest, but that he had refused to comply.

Maher told Ahram Online he had received a call from an Interior Ministry official and that he had told him he could not ask for an authorisation stipulated by a law he did not recognise as legitimate.

Maher added that his youth group took part in the protest but he was not organising it, therefore he wasn't the one who needed to ask for authorisation.

"The police intervention was not justified. Protesters were peaceful. This morning we were also protesting on the marches of the Journalist union, and they dispersed us. Even Mubarak would let us do that," he added, referring to an earlier protest against the new anti-protest law.

The demonstration was led by the Martyr Gaber Salah Movement, a group named after 16-year old activist Gaber Salah ("Jika"), who was killed in clashes with security forces in November 2012.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

27-11-2013 08:23pm
No need to justify.... Just do it and eliminate the Muslim brotherhood.
These laws are badly needed to overwhelm terrorists employed by the Muslim brotherhood
Comment's Title

very etc
27-11-2013 04:01am
Hooligans should have no mercy
The Ministry will have to hold the rule of the law. Those so called demonstrators are paid hooligans bent upon creating havoc and , in the process, undermining national interests. The Ministry should pursue all possible means to return life to normalcy for the millions of citizens suffering from a aberrant minority!
Comment's Title

© 2010 Ahram Online.