In a call against military trials and in support for the release of blogger and political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, the Coalition for Independent Culture organised an artistic protest in Talaat Harb Square, downtown Cairo, last night, Wednesday, 16 November.
Members of the coalition gathered in the square at 6.00pm and with a few speakers started attracting passers-by to their protest. Most attendees wore the trending yellow armbands that say “No For Military Trials”.
Participating members formed a platform for artistic performances, including poetry recitals, songs, and a comedy sketch that carried a political message criticising the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and its mishandling of Egypt.
Featuring Aragoz El-Thawra (The Clown of the Revolution), Naglaa Younis performed a comedy dialogue with another member of the coalition against the SCAF; a short clown sketch to which attendees young and old responded with applause.
“We are here to demonstrate against the military trials practiced by the SCAF, and demand the release of Alaa Abdel Fattah,” Dawlat Magdy told Ahram Online.
Despite Facebook invitations, a number of protestors in Talaat Harb Square came by word-of-mouth. “I did not receive this message on Facebook; I accompanied my friends immediately when I heard about the protest,” Diana Magdy Abdel Fattah said.
“We are against civilians being tried by the military when the wrong-doers of the former regime are granted civilian investigation rights,” Abdel Fattah added. “While some others have even escaped charges,” commented another protestor.
Alaa Abdel Fattah was detained by army forces last month following the "Black Sunday" of the Maspero clashes on 9 October, and is accused of gun theft and attacking public property. He is currently facing a military trial.
Since being arrested, Abdel Fatah has been unresponsive to the prosecutor’s questions, disapproving that military procedures are applied to civilians, and claiming that the army, which was implicated in the events of 9 October, is not an impartial investigator.