Women's protest outside Cairo's Ittihadeya for prisoners' release

Ahram Online , Sunday 21 Jun 2015

Women held up banners in support of activists detained following an anti-protest-law protest in the same place a year ago

Egyptian women protestors outside Ittihadeya Presidential Palace on Sunday 21 June 2015 calling for the release of prisoners (Photo: Hala Mahmoud)

A few dozen Egyptian women held a protest on Sunday outside Ittihadeya presidential palace to call for the release of detainees.

The protest included activists and also family and friends of those imprisoned.

Witnesses told Ahram Online that participants held up photos and banners, but did not chant.

Activist Mona Seif, who tweeted live from the event on her Twitter account, said that, at one point, police officers told the participants that it had been “enough” and asked them to leave. But the women’s stand continued for an hour as planned, she said.

The organisers had created an event page on Facebook saying that 21 June marks the “International Day for Solidarity with Egyptian Prisoners”, and marks one year since the authorities jailed the demonstrators from a protest against Egypt's protest law in the same place.

Egyptian women protestors outside Ittihadeya Presidential Palace
Egyptian women protestors outside Ittihadeya Presidential Palace on Sunday 21 June 2015 calling for the release of prisoners (Photo: Walt Curnow)

On the same day last year, 23 pro-democracy activists, including Mona's and blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah’s sister Sanaa Seif and human rights lawyer Yara Sallam, were arrested for protesting against Egypt's protest law outside Ittihadeya.

In December, they were sentenced to two years in jail for violating the protest law and assaulting security forces.

The law, issued late 2013 following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, sparked local and international criticism and calls for its amendment.

Controversial articles include requirements on protest organisers to notify authorities three days in advance of their aims and demands, as well as full names of the individuals or organisation participating, their description, place of residence and contact details.

It also gives the interior ministry unconditioned authority to prohibit or postpone or change the location or route of a protest.

Hundreds have been jailed for breaching the statute, amid an ongoing state crackdown on Morsi's Islamist backers that has extended to secular and liberal dissidents.

Many others face lengthy detention pending investigation, and therefore without trial, arrested in similar events.

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