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Activist Gigi Ibrahim to keep filming drivers’ protests despite military arrest

Renowned activist and film-maker recounts her tense three-hour detention on Saturday, vowing to continue documenting Cairo's ongoing public transport strikes

Sherif Tarek , Sunday 2 Oct 2011
Gigi Ibrahim
Gigi Ibrahim holds aloft a placard that reads "No to oppression of free speech" (Photo by: Mai Shaheen)‎
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Renowned Egyptian activist Gigi Ibrahim was arrested on Saturday night but released three hours later following a heated discussion with a military officer, she announced on her Twitter account.

Despite her detention for filming the on-going public transport strike, Gigi insists she will keep documenting the drivers' Cairo protests which started a fortnight ago.
 
"I was filming the strike when military colonel Mohamed Amin approached me and ‎tried to snatch my video camera," the 24-year-old told Ahram Online. 
 
"I refused to hand it ‎to him, so he asked me to delete the video and I complied … he rudely told me to leave but I refused.‎
 
"The exchange between us escalated after he insulted me, saying that I was ill-mannered. ‎In return, I told him he was an indecent person. It was a scene so a lot of people gathered ‎around us, before the officer ordered soldiers to arrest me and Ahmed Saied, a ‎human rights activist who came with me."
 
Gigi said that no one gave her a reason for her arrest, saying it was more of a ‎heated conversation than an interrogation.‎
 
"We were detained in a building in Kasr El-Eini Street [downtown near the drivers’ sit-‎in]. I kept asking why I was detained and saying that I wanted to call my lawyer," she explained.
 
"I ‎wasn’t really interrogated. Instead, the colonel, Mohamed Amin, kept lecturing us about ‎national security and the role of the army."
 
Gigi suggested she may have been detained for trying to give accurate information about the strike which contradicts official statements.
 
"The army has been trying to convince ‎the public that the strike is over and that the drivers’ demands have been fulfilled, and ‎that is not true.
 
"They promised the protesting drivers would get the bonuses they demanded, but ‎backtracked on their decision later so the drivers maintained their sit-‎in.
 
"The guy, Mohamed Amin, was clearly commissioned to open the street and he did that. With the street no longer blocked, and with no video to prove that there was a sit-‎in, it’s as if nothing happened,” she explained.‎
 
Much to Gigi’s anger, Colonel Amin forced her to delete all the video footage stored on her camera. 
 
"I ‎really don’t know why he did that. I politely deleted the video of the drivers’ protests," ‎she said. "[But] this is not going to stop me, I am going again to the drivers’ demonstration ‎today [Sunday], and so are many others."
 
The colonel was later more contrite, she said.‎
 
"He eventually apologised to me for his attitude that had completely changed by the end.‎"
 
Earlier tweets from Gigi read: "I was not beaten, I was just held tightly by hand and my ‎bag torn [while being arrested]. ‎
 
"They explored my purse and wanted to take a "look" at my phone but I didn't let them ‎get my phone.‎
 
"I told the officer ‘you know that you torture and detain people based on that they are ‎pro-revolution’, he smiled,” Gigi said, adding in another tweet that "I told him the ‎revolution is continuing and no one can control it, the confrontation is coming and it will ‎be ugly.‎
 
"When the officer first arrested me [he] said ‘the army is the one that is spending on this ‎country!" I said of course coz you take all the dollars."
 
Gigi managed to recover the deleted video of the sit-in and uploaded it on her Twitter ‎account on Sunday. ‎
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