Abou-Ismail urges Egyptians to defend protesters

Ahram Online, Tuesday 20 Dec 2011

Presidential contender threatens to mobilise followers against military police, vows to protect poll monitors from alleged abuse

Hazem Abou-Ismail
Presidential hopeful Hazem Abou-Ismail (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Presidential hopeful Hazem Abou-Ismail on Tuesday announced his intention to call for a “huge turnout” of citizens to hit the streets to defend women and helpless individuals from what he described as the “brutality” of military forces.

He also said his campaign would work to protect judges mandated with supervising ongoing parliamentary polling from possible assaults by military police.

In a statement, Abou-Ismail said that the blood of protesters spilled in the last four days of clashes outside the Cabinet building in downtown Cairo was “on the hands” of Egypt’s security forces, adding that he would hit the street to protect Egyptian citizens “by himself if necessary.”

Bloody confrontations between protesters and military police erupted on Friday after the latter attempted to break up a weeks-long sit-in against military rule. The death toll has since risen to 13, with over 500 injured.

A number of human rights violations committed by military personnel against demonstrators have been documented in video footage and photographs that have been widely circulated on the Internet, prompting local and international outrage.

Among these is video evidence of an assault by three military policemen on a young veiled woman who is kicked, beaten with batons, and stripped down to her undergarments before being dragged into the street where she is subject to further abuse.

What’s more, according to the Egyptian Judges Club, some 600 judges overseeing the second round of Egypt’s first post-Mubarak parliamentary polls were physically assaulted by military police following complaints about the performance of army personnel deployed at polling stations.

A group of judges reportedly tendered their resignations shortly afterward to protest the attacks.

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