Egyptian protesters call for 'political freedom'

Egyptian protesters demanding an end to Mubarak's rule scuffled with security forces, witnesses and security sources said.

Egyptian protesters call for 'political freedom'

Egyptian protesters demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's rule scuffled with security forces on Tuesday and dozens were detained, witnesses and security sources said.

"Down, down, Hosni Mubarak," members of one group of more than 200 chanted as they tried to gather in Cairo's central Tahrir Square.

Hundreds of riot police were stationed across the capital, encircling small groups of protesters as they gathered to converge on the centre. Police beat some protesters with sticks and dragged dozens away, witnesses said.

Such demonstrations are rare in Egypt and are usually swiftly quashed by security.

The April 6 group which called the protest is seeking constitutional amendments and an end to an emergency law that sanctions indefinite detentions. Egypt holds a parliament election later this year and a presidential vote in 2011.

Mubarak's National Democratic Party is expected to win an overwhelming majority in parliament.

Mubarak, 81, has not said whether he will run for a sixth presidential term but, if he does not, many Egyptians believe he will try to hand power to his politician son, Gamal, 46.

Rules outlined in the constitution make it almost impossible for any candidate to mount a realistic challenge for the presidency without the backing of Mubarak's ruling party.

"What we are calling for is political freedom for Egyptians through peaceful means. Our aim is to instigate political movement among the people to demand their rights," Omar Ali, a April 6 movement organiser, told Reuters before the protest.


One group of more than 20 protesters that included opposition politician Ayman Nour, who came a distant second in the 2005 presidential race, was blocked by security from reaching the square, witnesses said.

Another group, which had gathered outside parliament, were also swiftly surrounded by police. Some men in plain clothes with guns in holsters hauled demonstrators away.

A security source said about 60 people had been detained in protests in central Cairo for demonstrating without a permit.

Earlier on Tuesday, police detained seven students as they headed to central Cairo from Helwan University on Cairo's outskirts and 16 students were held as they made their way from a city south of Cairo to the capital, a security source said.

The Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera reported that Egyptian police confiscated tapes from one of its TV team in Cairo covering the demonstrations.

The main opposition group behind the protest, the Sixth of April Youth, was formed after a protest in 2008, fuelled by surging prices, that turned violent. It has since transformed into a broader anti-government movement.

Tuesday's march was supported by Nour's liberal Ghad (Tomorrow) opposition party.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Nisan 2010, 16:18