A draft of a new counter-terrorism law was sent to the Egypt presidency on Wednesday for his approval. The draft includes harsher punishments on those convicted of committing violence and terrorism in Egypt, along with a even broader definition of terrorism. [Visit Egypt Independent’s extensive details on the new articles in the draft]
A demolition campaign in Egypt’s Maadi has spurred a conflict with local residents as it turned fatal this week. One child was confirmed as dead, while residents say the death toll is higher. Clashes ensued after a scheduled demolition killed that one child.
“This is criminal,” explained Ahmed Mabrouk, a 28-year-old computer engineer who lives one dirt path deeper into Dar al-Salam from the demolition area. “These people have the paperwork to prove ownership of their lands.”
“And even if they didn’t,” he claims, “there are more decent ways to treat citizens. You can’t just blow up their houses and put entire families on the street. Legally or not, some people have been living here for over 50 years.”
Ashraf Abu Selim, who claims to own the land on which the ruins of his building now sit, holds up a thin stack of papers as he explains, “I have all the documentation that proves this land is mine. This is a court order, issued in 2006. I tried to show it to the officers [supervising the demolition] and they told me they were just enforcing a decision that had already been taken, and that papers didn’t mean anything to them.”
The demolition crew and authorities, he claimed, never notified him of any plans to tear down his building. “I only found out on the day they showed up,” the 54-year-old says.
More demolitions are scheduled to occur in the same neighborhood. The government maintains no intent to hurt any citizens in the Maadi campaign.
The courts of Egypt continue to be busy. The retrial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and others for killing protesters back in the January revolution in 2011 has resumed on Wednesday. Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, among others are involved in the continuing court case.
A court declined the Morsi defense team request to get new judges for the cases involving the ousted president. A date for the resumption of the trials will be decided on later.
Muslim Brotherhood members were given prison sentences on Wednesday for participating in July riots in Shubra.
On the streets
Clashes between police and students at multiple universities across the country ensued on Wednesday.
Rock throwing between the two groups had police forces raid Ain Shams University, with reports of tear gas and pellet use. Security forces walked onto Azhar University after clashes, also along with reports of 15 arrested on its Assiut campus.
Cairo University protests brought clashes off campus and near the Qasr al-Aini hospital. There were reports of tear gas thrown into the hospital. Molotov cocktails and rocks were used by students, al-Ahram reports.
The Girls College in Heliopolis protested against a threat by the headmaster saying she would expel them if students put on demonstrations.
Nine student unions have banded together to criticize the security situation on college and university campuses across the nation. They state that university administrations allowing security forces entry will further any protests or clashes on campus. They also denounced the expulsion and arrests of students.
Khaled Ali, a former presidential hopeful and left politician, shared he will not run for presidency in the upcoming elections. He says they are going to be a “farce.”
“We want an army that is elevated above political disputes and protects but does not rule [the country], as its intervention in politics is dangerous to everybody,” he said. “We will not take part in a farce…do not fool us. Shut down the puppet theater as we will not make any deals,” he added.
“We do not call for confronting the army. Our demands are to confront your lust for power,” Ali said. “We are against theocratic and police states, and we support social justice.”
Zamalek Club president and lawyer Mortada Mansour announced his presidential bid on Sunday. He states his campaign is to restore “Egypt’s prestige and position among nations.” He also says the elections should be postponed another year for stability to be reached. Mansour also publicly declared that if he becomes president, he’ll pursue the Ethiopia foreign policy crisis by attacking it if it is built on the Nile river.
Jailed activist Ahmed Douma called for presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi to drop out of the race. He says this is because he should wait until the “protest law is revoked and all detainees are freed,” his lawyer relayed to Sabbahi.
The Egyptian Doctors’ Syndicate, which has been on a partial strike since March, requested presidential hopefuls to also focus on national health problems on their campaigns.
It was announced there will be no polling stations for Egypt expats in Libya, Syria or Somalia.
The Muslim Brotherhood released a lengthy statement Tuesday condemning national violence. Other political groups have called on the current president to pardon jailed activists and revoke the protest law.
24 people were arrested in Sinai raids on Monday.