On the second anniversary of the first call for civil disobedience in the history of modern Egypt, new protests broke out through out the country. Egyptian police violently beat and randomly detained people to disperse protests calling for constitutional reform – especially downtown in front of the People's Assembly and the Shura Council.
It started back when the April 6 Youth Movement, along with other political movements, called for peaceful demonstrations in front of the People's Assembly. In addition some prominent intellectuals, such as announcer Hamdi Qandeel, asked all Egyptians to join the protests this time.
From the morning on, news about the detention of activists was starting to come in from different places in the country.
Hebamorayef, a female activist, was in Tahrir Square and sent eyewitness updates:
1# Groups of plainclothes security on every street corner between Tahrir and Maglis el Shaab [People's Assembly]
2# Saw Four Dragged away from demo in front of shaab.
3# Beating and kicking of demonstrators arrested. 20 so far.
Malek, who was doing excellent minute by minute reporting on the situation in Arabic, mentioned that when protesters tried to run to the lawyers’ or journalists’ syndicates, news spread that both syndicates had been shut down. He also commented on the way of treating female protestors, and on how the police were using female officers, maybe for the first time:
2# اول مره اشوف العدد دا من الناشطات مضروب, واول مره اشوف طريقة التعامل دا مع بنات من وقت مظاهرة مايو 2005 اللي تم التحرش بها بالفتيات
3# الأمن المصري يستخدم عناصر نسائيه للمره الاولى لمطاردة ناشطات حركة 6 إبريل, العناصر النسائية ترتدي ملابس شرطة.
2# The first time I've seen that number of female activitists beaten up, and the first time I've seen this way of treating girls since the May 2005 protests where girls were sexually harassed
3# Egypt security uses uniformed women police officers to chase 6 April Movement female protestors for the first time
Journalist and blogger Sarah Carr, who was near the Shura Council, shared a short video of policemen removing people from the protest. She also said riot police were using batons to hit protestors; people were hit as they were dragged away.
Another video can be found here. People were chanting “leave him, leave him”.
Protests and clashes with the Egyptian police were not only in Cairo, but in other governorates, according to updates from bloggers and activists on Twitter.
In Alexandria, Dalia Al Marghani reported:
In Mansoura, Mohamed Maree reported a crackdown on an exhibition by the April 6 Movement:
عميد امن جامعة المنصورة يحتك بالنشطاء الطلبة داخل الجامعة وحاول اجبارهم على فض المعرض الذى ينظمونة
2# رئيس جامعة المنصورة ينزل الى مكان تنظيم المعرض الذى يقيمة النشطاء بالجامعة ويأمر شخص يدعى على الجمل بحرق اوراق المعرض . وتم بالفعل
2# The dean goes down where the exhibition is being organised by the activists and orders someone called El Gamal to burn the exhibition's paper signs. It's been done already.
(Picture of the exhibition in Al Mansoura university before it was burnt.)
Mohamed Maree also confirmed there were demonstrations in other places:
There were Demonstrations all over Egypt Today in Zagazig, KafrElsheikh, BanySweif #6april
The same thing was echoed by Mohamed Adel, one of the April 6 youth leaders who was in a demonstration; he listed the approximate number of students who joined protests at different universities:
In Ain Shams university (in Cairo) the situation was different. Nawara Negm wrote a blog post condemning the concert that was held on the university campus at the same time as the protest to distract students from joining. She then commented on the protests themselves:
ايه ده؟ ايه ده؟
اولا: المظاهرة دي كانت مظاهرة ستة ابريل، وكلنا كنا متوقعين ان ناس يتقبض عليها، بس انا كنت فاكرة انها حتبقى زي مظاهرة التعديلات الدستورية سنة 2007 اقصى حاجة.. ما كنتش متوقعة انهم يقلبوها المحلة
الاصابات كتيرة، والاعتقالات على حسب التويتر عددها كبير قوي
ثانيا: دول حاولوا يعملوا هاك على موقع البرادعي وموقع ستة ابريل
[…] What's all this? First: this was an April 6 demonstration and we were all expecting that people would be detained, and I thought it would be like the 2007 constitutional reform protests at the most…but I never thought they'd make it like the Mahalla protests [in 2008]!
There are many injuries and detentions according to updates on Twitter.
Secondly: They tried to hack ElBaradei's, and the April 6 movement's websites.
Later on, many confirmed the block of the April 6 movement's website. Zeinobia said:
The official website of the 6th April movement is blocked and its server is down. http://www.6april.org/ I am not an expert but it seems that someone has hacked the main server.
At the end of the day, RamyRaoof who was also closely following the protests and working on the Front to Defend Egypt Protesters website wrote:
we were able to confirm the names of 73 activist detained at Cairo-Ismailiya road. #6April #EgyDefense
Fustat later confirmed:
The number of detainees are now 90 , and they are all held at a central security facility in Madinat al Salam http://bit.ly/bMnnex #6April
Many bloggers circulated the “Egyptian Revolution” video edited by James Buck of Nasser Nouri‘s photographs from Mahalla on April 6, 2008, with chants saying “We are not afraid. Freedom. Down Down Mubarak”.
The day ended with a glimpse of hope; Ahmed Adawy reported:
افضل ما حدث اليوم الاعضاء الجدد الى انضموا للجبهه وكميه التوقيعات الى تم جمعها #elbaradei
2# The best thing that happened today is that a lot of new members joined the Front, and we've collected many signatures [for ElBaradei's call for change]
Updates throughout the day came from Mohamed Maree [Ar], Kareem El Behairy [Ar] and Zeinobia [En], as well as the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information[Ar], Egypt Protest Defense[Ar/En]. You can of course follow the hashtag #6April on Twitter.