The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Cairo 25 May demo: eyewitness account

I just got this email from Hossam el-Hamalawy, who got pepper-sprayed on his face earlier today:

State Security police arrested today at least two Youth for Change Activists, who've been recently released from Tora.
Mohamed Sharkawy was leaving the Press Syndicate after attending a demo in support of the judges, in a taxi, when he was stopped by plain clothes security, who grabbed him out of the car. He was beaten and taken away to an unknown location.
Another activist, Kareem al-Sha'er, was leaving the syndicate around 4:30pm, in the private car of his colleague Dina Samak--a six-month pregnant journalist with the BBC whose husband Ibarhim el-Sahary is currently incarcerated in Tora for taking part in pro-judges demos--when they were stopped by at least 25 plain clothes security agents, who kept on hitting the car windows till they were smashed, and dragged Karim el-Sha'er out of it. He was beaten and taken to an unknown location. Dina had a trauma shock the bordered on a nervous breakdown. She was taken by her friends to the Judges' Club.
Earlier in the day, (though I don't have much details), Kefaya coordinator in Qenna, Ashraf Abdel Hafiz, was picked up by State Security.
The police had laid siege on the Press Syndicate, with riot troops, plain clothes security officers, and thugs. We were barred from leaving the syndicate to go and join the judges' stand in front of the High Court, around 1:30pm. When I tried to leave, a plain clothes security officer, dressed in a yellow shirt, pepper-sprayed my face. I couldn't see well for at least 20 mins, during which my face and neck were on FIRE! I wasn't allowed to leave the premise for another hour.
I'm attaching a pic of the security agent who assaulted me. He's wearing a yellow shirt, standing behind the helmeted soldiers talking to a CSF colonel in a black hat.

May 25 Judges Demo 055A