Egypt police hold academics on way to troubled town

Egyptian police held a group of about 25 academics at a checkpoint on Friday as they headed for the troubled Nile Delta town of Mahalla el-Kubra, scene of a strike and riots on Sunday and Monday, activists said.

Egypt police hold academics on way to troubled town

Activist Aida Seif al-Dawla, a group member, said they had been held at the checkpoint since 11 a.m. (0900 GMT) and the police appeared to be waiting for instructions.

"They have given no reasons for holding us, no explanation. ... It looks like a decision has to come from high up," she told Reuters.

The academics wanted to go to Mahalla to show solidarity with the workers at a giant textile factory and visit the families of people injured in the clashes with the police.

Two people were killed and more than 100 injured in the riots, which broke out on Sunday after police and plainclothes security prevented a strike at the textile factory, which employs more than 20,000 people.

The workers are demanding higher salaries to compensate for sharp increases in the prices of basic foodstuffs. Local youngsters joined in the protests, attacking the riot police and pulling down a picture of President Hosni Mubarak and the election posters of his ruling party.

Seif al-Dawla said the police had confiscated and driven away the car of one Cairo University professor and had forcibly prevented another professor from driving back to Cairo.

Earlier on Friday Reuters photographer Nasser el-Nouri sent a text message saying police were holding him at a police station in Mahalla, where he has been covering the unrest.

The Web site All Headline News said Egyptian police arrested an American photojournalist, James Buck, in Mahalla on Thursday evening. It was not immediately clear if Buck, who has been working for the Oakland Tribune, had been released.

Last Mod: 11 Nisan 2008, 16:42
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