Mass arrests in Egypt following anti-regime rallies

Mass arrests in Egypt following anti-regime rallies
Egyptian security forces arrested at least 238 protesters this week, as anger mounts about Cairo's decision to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia
2 min read
26 April, 2016

Egypt - demos - arrests

At least 238 Egyptians were detained following mass anti-regime demonstrations on 25 April according to activist group, The Front of Defence for Egyptian Protesters.

Protesters campaigned against Cairo's decision to give Saudi Arabia sovereignty over two Egyptian islands.
It follows wider unrest against the authoritarian regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power following an army coup in 2013.

"The Egyptian authorities appear to have orchestrated a heavy-handed and ruthlessly efficient campaign to squash this protest before it even began," said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International's interim Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

"Mass arrests, road blocks and huge deployments of security forces made it impossible for peaceful demonstrations to take place."

The Egyptian Commission for Human Rights put the figure of detainees at 233, including 19 journalists and 40 women.

"Sadly, crushing freedom of peaceful assembly and violating other rights is entirely in keeping with the Egyptian government’s response to any kind of criticism," Amnesty International's statement read.  

A coalition of leftist and liberal groups had called for the protest, ostensibly against the handing over of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Security raids across Cairo began days before the planned protests, with dozens arrested in what appeared to be an attempt to intimidate the public and prevent demonstrations.

Sisi warned of "firm action" against protesters planning to take part in Monday's demonstrations.

Over 90 people were arrested during in the lead up to the planned protests - between 21 and 24 April - according to figures released by Egyptian human rights organisations and Freedom for the Brave.

Amnesty International "urged the Egyptian authorities to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Anyone detained for peacefully protesting should be released".