Tags: Thousands | Protest | for | Reform | Egypt

Thousands Protest for Reform in Egypt

Wednesday, 13 April 2005 12:00 AM

Egypt has seen an unprecedented string of demonstrations -- usually numbering in the hundreds -- against Mubarak's government since December in a country where direct criticism of the president was long taboo and where most protests focused on international issues such as Iraq or the Palestinians.

Egyptian law requires public gatherings of more than five people to obtain a government permit. Students, however, are generally allowed to demonstrate as long as they remain on university grounds.

About 2,000 students rallied inside Assiut University in southern Egypt, chanting, "End the emergency laws." Signs demanded wide-ranging political reform and called for support for Iraqis and Palestinians. Riot police watched from outside the university but did nothing to stop the demonstration.

Mubarak imposed emergency laws in 1981 when he took power after President Anwar Sadat was assassinated. The laws give security forces broad powers, include great leeway in carrying out arrests.

In downtown Assiut -- a 200 miles south of Cairo that was a hotbed for the Islamic insurgency in the 1990s -- another 1,000 protesters gathered in the street and held a silent protest after police refused them permission to hold a demonstration.

Two Kifaya members were arrested for carrying posters with slogans of the movement, whose name is Arabic for "Enough!"

In Cairo, some 2,000 students, mostly Muslim Brothers, staged protests at Al-Azhar university. Three were arrested, police said. Another 1,200 protested at Ain Shams University in the capital.

Some 1,500 protesters held a rally at Cairo University, lining up in rows outside the university gates in front of a line of riot police. Students also demonstrated at Mansoura University in the Nile Delta city of the same name, north of the capital, chanting, "Mr. President, our country is a republic, not a monarchy where power is inherited. Emergency laws stand between us and our freedom."

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Egypt has seen an unprecedented string of demonstrations -- usually numbering in the hundreds -- against Mubarak's government since December in a country where direct criticism of the president was long taboo and where most protests focused on international issues such as...
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2005-00-13
Wednesday, 13 April 2005 12:00 AM
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