Egypt parties to rally for hunger-striking detainees

The parties described their symbolic hunger-strike as an "escalation" of a wider hunger-strike campaign dubbed the "battle of empty stomachs" launched last week.

Egypt parties to rally for hunger-striking detainees

World Bulletin / News Desk

Seven left-leaning Egyptian political parties have called for a symbolic one-day hunger strike this week in solidarity with dozens of detained Egyptian activists who recently began an open-ended hunger strike to protest their ongoing detention, according to a joint statement issued Friday.

The parties described their symbolic hunger-strike as an "escalation" of a wider hunger-strike campaign dubbed the "battle of empty stomachs" launched last week, which currently includes 59 detained activists and 32 of their supporters.

Signatories to Friday's statement included the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Popular Current, the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Egypt Freedom Party and the Bread and Freedom Party.

The seven parties also called for the amendment of a controversial protest law issued in November, under which several thousand Egyptians have been detained.

"The protest legislation violates basic rights granted by the constitution and contradicts the achievements of the Egyptian people in the wake of the January 25 revolution," read the statement, referring to the 18-day uprising in 2011 that led to the ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The seven signatories called on supporters to stage mass hunger strikes for one day at the parties' respective offices around the country.

The planned symbolic hunger-strike coincides with calls by a number of Egyptian journalists to stage an open-ended sit-in inside Cairo's Journalists Syndicate to show solidarity with detainees and demand the annulment of the controversial law, according to press statements by journalist Mona Seleem.

"Member and non-member journalists with the syndicate will take part in the sit-in," Seleem asserted.

The protest legislation, issued by former military-backed interim president Adly Mansour, stipulates that protest organizers submit written notification to the Interior Ministry three days before staging a demonstration.

The law gives the Interior Ministry the right to deny organizers permission if the planned demonstration is deemed a "threat to security or public safety" or if security conditions are found to be "inappropriate."

The law also authorizes security forces to use force to disperse demonstrators.

According to the law, violators can either be fined or imprisoned – penalties that have provoked the ire of many Egyptian politicians and activists, who say the legislation curbs freedoms and gives police free rein to bar popular protest.

A recent report by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, a local NGO, found over 41,000 cases of Egyptians who had been subject to prosecution since last year's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the army.

Egyptian authorities continue to deny that any political detainees are being prosecuted, insisting that all those currently held face criminal charges.

Last Mod: 13 Eylül 2014, 09:44
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