Tens of activists and supporters have gathered in front of the High Court in Downtown Cairo to protest the detention of activist Ahmed Abou Doma on allegations of inciting violence against the army during clashes between protesters and army soldiers following the violent dispersal of a three-week sit-in at the Cabinet headquarters on 16 December.
Demonstrators chanted “Down with military rule” and “Government, why are you afraid of Ahmed Abou Doma?”
Abou Doma was arrested on the order of judges Wageeh El-Shaeer and Wagdy Abdel Azim, both commissioned by the Ministry of Justice to investigate the battle between protesters and security forces in front of Egypt's Cabinet building last month.
Abou Doma, a member of the Youth for Justice and Freedom Movement, was arrested on Thursday, 12 January. Authorities said he will be held for a month pending investigations.
Authorities claim that protesters detained during the clashes confessed that Abou Doma had encouraged them to destroy public property.
For his part, Abou Doma — in a television interview given as the clashes were taking place — admitted to throwing Molotov cocktails at army personnel, an act he justified as “self-defence” after the latter opened fire on protesters.
Seventeen were killed in December's clashes. Videos and photographs from the scene documented the violent tactics used by security forces. The images were widely circulated online, prompting both local and international criticism of the army's treatment of civilians.
During interrogations on Friday, Abou Doma reportedly denied having assaulted military personnel during last month’s clashes, contradicting what he had said earlier in the television interview. Abou Doma also maintained his innocence regarding all the charges arrayed against him.