The April 6 Youth Movement, one of the groups that was instrumental in instigating Egypt's 2011 uprising, says it had to commemorate its eighth anniversary “in the desert” on Monday to avoid police harassment.
The movement, along with breakaway group April 6 Democratic Front, held a press conference in the vicinity of the Mall of Arabia in 6 October city on the outskirts of Cairo to commemorate the establishment of the original movement.
The conference was attended by a limited number of group representatives and journalists. Abdel-Rahman Mohsen, a member of the Democratic Front's political office, said only a small number of media personnel were informed of the time and whereabouts of the conference.
Mohsen said that all attempts to hire a conference room failed thanks to "threats from security [personnel]" against those responsible for the venues. He said the security apparatus is seeking to limit the movement's activities, which prompted its members to hold the press conference away from central Cairo.
"This is an indication of state repression of any peaceful civil movement… But regardless of the pressure and arrests we will continue, even in the desert. Our striving won’t stop," he said, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic website.
Ahmed Maher, one of the founders of the movement, and leading member Mohamed Adel, are serving three years in prison for breaking a law that criminalises protests that have not received prior police authorisation.
Founded in 2008, the group was celebrated for its role in the anti-Mubarak protests in January 2011.
Since the 2013 ouster of Mohamed Morsi the movement has been denounced in parts of the Egyptian media for opposing the interim authorities and President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.