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Egyptian police in violent clashes with street protesters
Egyptian police in Cairo Monday clashed with protesters demanding an end to the country’s 30-year emergency law that restricts civil freedoms, in this latest challenge to state authority.
May 4, 2010 8:16 by Katherine Azmeh
The scuffle erupted after several hundred policemen, dressed in black uniforms, pushed back about 150 protesters who had gathered in the downtown and tried to break through a security barrier.
The police beat members of the pro-reform youth April 6 movement, prompting some demonstrators to hurl sticks and plastic bottles back at the officers. One protester was badly bruised and bloodied, and another was arrested.
“All of a sudden, I felt tens of people on top of me, and while I was down on the ground they kept kicking me,” said protester Hasan Mustafa, bleeding from the neck and in a pink T-shirt marked with shoe prints. Pulling up the shirt, he showed the bruising inflicted by police kicking.
Police arrested Ahmed Doma, who friends said had also been detained in an earlier rally.
Monday’s demonstration was organized by opposition lawmakers seeking to end the emergency law, which is up for renewal in parliament later in May. The lawmakers were joined by two reformist movements — the Egyptian Women for Change and April 6, which backs the unofficial candidacy of former UN nuclear watchdog chief and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohammed El-Baradei in Egypt’s presidential elections next year.
The lawmakers, who had wanted to march to Parliament but were prevented by police, watched the beatings from the sidelines of the protest.
Egypt is to hold presidential elections next year. The constitutional amendments restrict candidates such as El-Baradei from running and allow only candidacies of a few members of approved political parties.