Egyptian protests continue with more planned

Posted Apr 1, 2014 by Ken Hanly
Violent clashes continue between police and anti-government protesters. The clashes were in Cairo and three other Egyptian cities.
Egypt:  Rabaa al-Adawiya during dispersal of Morsi supporters
Egypt: Rabaa al-Adawiya during dispersal of Morsi supporters
On April 1st police used tear gas to break up a protest by Ain Shams university students after hours of conflict that left dozens injured. There were clashes as well in Egypt's second largest city Alexandria. In the city of Assiut dozens were injured in clashes and there was also violence in Mansoura. Just days earlier at least one student was killed in protests at Al Ashar university in Cairo. Another source puts the number killed at two. The university has expelled more than two dozen students for taking part in protests against the military-led interim government on March 30 to protest the earlier killing of the two students. The university also said that it will harshly punish any students who protest anywhere on university grounds.
On Monday, 33 supporters of ex-president Morsi were sentenced to six year jail terms for acts of violence during an unauthorized protest. Many of the protesters are denouncing the presidential candidacy of former defense minister Abdul al-Sisi who led the military-backed coup against former president Morsi. Ironically Morsi had appointed al-Sisi commander of the armed forces and defense minister before al-Sisi led his overthrow in July 2013. Al Sisi stepped down from his military positions so he could run for president. He is widely expected to win and has support from the media.
A group called the Anti-coup Alliance announced it will boycott the upcoming presidential election. The group includes members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood who have been subject to mass trials with hundreds being sentenced to death. During the crackdown on Morsi supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood rights Amnesty International, the human rights groups, estimates at least 1,400 people have been killed.
New protests are planned for this Thursday, April 3rd by several Egyptian political groups and family members of protesters who have been arrested. The group Freedom for the Brave campaign said on their Facebook page: "We know they are all being denied their basic rights and that their trials are politicised, we want to stand together and declare our solidarity for all those unjustly jailed," A protest law passed by the government last November has resulted in many protesters being jailed both in peaceful and violent protests.
The arrests now include a number of activists who had earlier been involved in anti-Morsi protests including Ahmed Douma and the leader of the April 6 Youth Movement Ahmed Maher a group which is one of the sponsors of the Thursday demonstrations. The military-backed government says that there are no political prisoners in Egypt that all those in detention are facing criminal charges. Those charged include a number of Al Jazeera journalists.