Egypt journalists call protest over police raid

2016-05-02 17:35
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Cairo - Egypt's journalists' syndicate called for the dismissal of the interior minister and an immediate sit-in at its headquarters in downtown Cairo on Monday to protest the police detention of two journalists on its premises earlier.

After an emergency meeting early on Monday, the group called for the "open-ended" sit-in to run through a Wednesday general assembly meeting and World Press Freedom day on May 3.

It described the police's entry into the building as a "raid by security forces whose blatant barbarism and aggression on the dignity of the press and journalists and their syndicate has surprised the journalistic community and the Egyptian people." Some senior syndicate members have said the raid was heavy-handed, involving dozens of officers and resulted in a security guard being injured.

Police denied they entered the building by force and said only eight officers were involved, who they said were acting on an arrest warrant for the two journalists who were accused of organising protests to destabilise the country. Unauthorised demonstrations in Egypt are effectively banned.

Undercover police

"The Ministry of Interior affirms that it did not raid the syndicate or use any kind of force in arresting the two, who turned themselves in as soon as they were told of the arrest warrant," the ministry said in a statement.

The two journalists, Amr Badr and Mahmoud el-Sakka, are government critics who work for a website known as January Gate, also critical of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government.

It was unclear what size any sit-in at the syndicate could achieve; the area surrounding the building has been barricaded by police and dozens of officers backed by armed troops have been preventing entry at both ends of the street. Hundreds of undercover police have been deployed across central Cairo in order to prevent any protests.

The journalists' syndicate has been a rallying point for demonstrations in the past and was blocked in a similar manner ahead of planned anti-government protests last Monday.


Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa

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