Protesters march through downtown Cairo en route to Parliament pressing for the release of political activists, 6 May 2012.(Photo: Mai Shaheen)
Representatives of several Egyptian political movements met with a parliamentary committee on Sunday to discuss recent violence in Cairo's Abbasyia district and the fate of scores of political activists subsequently detained by authorities. The meeting follows the arrest of more than 300 activists during clashes with military personnel outside defence ministry headquarters on Friday.
According to Mohamed El-Kassas, meeting participant and member of the Egyptian Current Party's Revolutionary Youth Coalition, the parliamentary committee promised political representatives that a public hearing would be held on Tuesday that would include activists' accounts of Friday's violence.
In addition, parliament will dispatch a delegation to meet with detained activists and press for their referral to a civil – rather than military – court.
On Sunday, the People's Assembly (the lower house of Egypt's parliament) approved the amendment of Egypt's military judiciary law. The change will effectively disallow the head of state – whose authorities were assumed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) following last year's revolution – to refer civilians to military tribunals. The amendment, however, has not yet been approved by the SCAF.
Sunday's meeting between the parliamentary committee and political representatives followed a protest march on Sunday, in which several thousand demonstrators marched from Egypt's Supreme Court to the nearby parliament to demand the release of the detained activists.
In addition to El-Kassas, the delegation of political representatives included Revolutionary Youth Coalition member Haitham El-Khateeb; Independent Current member Mohamed El-Baker; General Islamist Current member Hossam El-Bukhary; Salafist Front member Hisham Kamal; National Association for Change member Ahmed Darrag; and National Consensus Movement member Mohamed El-Badry.
Clashes erupted on Friday between anti-SCAF protesters and army personnel outside defence ministry headquarters in Abbasiya. At least two people were killed and hundreds injured in the ensuing bloodshed.
More than 300 protesters were arrested in a subsequent security crackdown. Although 15 female protesters were later released, the rest remain in detention and are expected to face military trials.
Since the onset of violence on 28 April, at least ten protesters have been killed and hundreds more injured.