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Friday, 28 January, 2010
As protests rise on the streets of Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, women have been speaking out. Amid rising food prices, choking political uncertainty, difficult circumstances in supporting families and ongoing police force corruption, protests have pushed forward after the death of Mr. Khaled Saeed, a young man pulled out of an internet cafe on the coastal city of Alexandria by police and allegedly killed by severe brute force.
“For some time, Egypt has felt as though it is under occupation,” said Cairo author and writer for The Guardian News, Ms. Ahdaf Soueif, in a January 27 commentary about the situation.
The protests, which were started as peaceful demonstrations, have accelerated after clashes with government security forces on the streets have increased. Curfews in Alexandria, Cairo and Suez have been put in place along with a nation wide disruption of the internet and mobile phone networks by the government.
“There have now been at least eight people killed and many more injured in the popular unrest across Egypt since Tuesday,” says Amnesty International in a formal, 28 January, report. The areas of unrest resulting in deaths include the village of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, along with the cities of Suez, Alexandria and Cairo.
Blogger activist, Ms. Noha Atef, has been writing to expose corruption and the need for prison reform in Egypt since 2006. Her voice, along with other voices of women activists in Egypt, have tried to change the impunity of police corruption, and issue that has spurred on recent protests.
“Authorities need to embark without delay on a comprehensive and long overdue political process to implement far-reaching political reforms that will achieve democracy and peaceful rotation of power, in addition to guaranteeing social justice, and stamping out corruption,” says the CIHRS – Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.
“We urge the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications. These protests underscore that there are deep grievances within Egyptian society and the Egyptian government needs to understand that violence will not make these grievances go away,” said U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton today (28 January) in a formal statement.
“Police violence in the streets during the past four days has not discriminated against women over men. According to people on the ground, women have been beaten and molested,” says Women News Network Cairo journalist, Manar Ammar. “But this hasn’t stopped anyone from going out,” she continued. “What is unprecedented about this is that people have become depoliticized. Those coming from different backgrounds are chanting the same cry, united under the same cause. That wasn’t the case last week before the protests.”
Yesterday, along with the government shut-down of the internet and mobile phone services, the website for the CIHRS was also shut down for a time. As security force violence continues, protester violence is also rising in Cairo on the eve of Friday, 28 January.
In a January 25 Aljazeera news release video, many women are seen on the streets of Cairo protesting. One woman speaks about her struggle to survive in modern Cairo. This 2:16 min video is an Aljazeera Newsupdate production. Ms. Rawya Rageh reports from Cairo.
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