Protesters in Cairo demand release of jailed activists

Ahram Online, Saturday 4 Jan 2014

Way of the Revolution Front protested against the 3-year jail terms given to Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma

Protesters chant against detention of activists during a march in downtown Cairo, 4 January 2014 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Dozens of activists held a protest march in downtown Cairo on Saturday evening to demand the release of a number of detained activists.

The protest, called for by the Way of the Revolution Front, kicked off from Abdel-Moneim Riyad Square, a few hundred metres from Tahrir Square, and headed to the Journalists Syndicate a short distance away.

According to an Ahram Online reporter in the field, protesters chanted against the police, the military and the controversial protest law issued in November, and tore down adverts calling on citizens to vote yes in the upcoming constitutional referendum as they marched through the streets.

Several members of the front, including the Revolutionary Socialists, the April 6 Youth Movement, and the Strong Egypt Party, have announced that they will boycott the referendum, scheduled to take place on 14 and 15 January.

The referendum on the constitution, will be the first milestone in the transitional roadmap since Morsi, the country's first freely elected president, was ousted on 3 July following mass protests against his rule. 

Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, members of both the April 6 Youth Movement and the Way of the Revolution Front, and prominent activist Ahmed Douma, were given three-year prison sentences last month on charges of organising illegal protests.

The activists, known for being at the forefront of Egypt's 2011 uprising which toppled former autocrat Hosni Mubarak, were convicted of joining a protest without seeking a police permit, as required by the new law.

The three prisoners started a hunger strike on Thursday in protest at what they described as bad treatment by their jailers at a south Cairo prison.

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