A massive Egyptian security presence prevented a humanitarian convoy to break the siege of Gaza from gathering in Cairo on Saturday 6th December. Journalists and political activists were attacked and detained as various security force branches prevented people gathering at the State Council. This location was chosen as the starting point for the Gaza caravan as a lawyer had recently obtained a court order there confirming Egyptian citizens' freedom of movement after previous caravans had been similarly repressed. At an October caravan security prevented people from reaching the meeting-point by kidnapping them as they left home and holding them for the day before releasing them.
100 managed to make it to a spontaneous demo at the Press Syndicate, which was similarly swamped by security, although the protestors were allowed to make speeches and shout slogans in solidarity with Palestine on the steps of the union. Plain clothes thugs stood opposite the demo looking menacing and moving on people who lingered for more than a minute.
One tourist was detained for 30 minutes for taking photos of the security forces and questioned in detail about his presence outside the State Council. The photos were deleted. A security force officer said that taking photos was prohibited due to 'police work' being carried out and that a 'permit' was required.
However, even press with the correct credentials were attacked and harrassed both at the demo and at other locations in the centre of Cairo where they attempted to interview people. A security force officer said that taking photos was prohibited due to 'police work' being carried out and that a 'permit' was required.
For more visit on the Cairo demo visit:
A demo of 700 was held at the Egyptian cultural centre in Paris protesting the Egyptian government's complicity in the siege of Gaza by preventing any humanitarian aid or other supplies into the strip:
Egypt now controls the southern Gaza borders after the collapse of the 2005 Philadelphi agreement between Israel, Egypt, the EU and the PA, which since June 2007 has not been in control of Gaza.
For repression of a recent Gaza solidarity demo in Cairo visit:
Human rights abuses Egypt has been criticised for this year include the murder of immigrants on the Egypt-Israel border, the killing and continued imprisonment of protestors during the General Strike at Mahalla in April (both condemned by Amnesty and Human Rights Watch) and the continuing persecution of workers at the Mahalla factory. Opposition figures, mainly Islamist, are routinely rounded up and held without charge.
For more on the recent disappearance of a student blogger visit: http://www.thedailynewsegypt.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=18302
Egypt is the third largest recipient of USAID after Iraq and Israel and has had a State of Emergency in force since 1981.