Egypt: sweep of Black Bloc protesters

Egyptian police arrested 12 “Black Bloc” protesters in clashes outside Cairo’s presidential palace April 27. Protesters hurled rocks and fire bombs at the walls of the presidential palace in the Heliopolis suburb, and torched a police vehicle. The clashes come days after the detainment of 22 suspected Black Bloc members on court order. On May 1, a court refused an appeal to release the young men, who have been ordered to remain in custody for a second 15-day period. On their Facebook page, the Blac Bloc say they are a “generation born of the blood of the martyrs” from the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Prosecutor general Talaat Abdallah has accused the group of “terrorism.” 

One of the detainees is Abdel Rahman Al-Araby, 15, who was taken away after security forces broke down the door of his family home in a dawn raid. He is charged with attempting to overthrow the government, belonging to a clanedstine terrorist group, weapons possession, and arson attacks on a security building and a Muslim Brotherhood building. Al-Araby, a member of the Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby (Popular Current), suffers from a heart condition. Ahmed Al-Masry, a co- founder of the Nation without Torture Campaign, said the detainees are being investigated by State Security prosecution. Mostafa Al-Hagari, media spokesperson of the 6 April Democratic Front said earlier that most of the detainees are 18 and 19 year olds. (Daily News, Egypt, May 2; AFP, April 28; Al-Arabiya, April 17)