Amnesty: Mideast protests, repression to continue

Amnesty: Mideast protests, repression to continue
Amnesty International predicts another year of protests and government repression in the Middle East if the region's rulers do not ensure democratic and human rights for their people
AP , Sunday 8 Jan 2012
 Print Send

Egyptian soldiers attack protesters in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
In a report to be released Monday on the 2011 Arab uprisings, the London-based Amnesty International organisation detailed the harsh measures governments across the region used to suppress protests calling for democratic reforms and greater freedoms. It also noted that activists across the region have refused to accept bogus promises and appear unlikely to give up their demands.

"They have shown that they will not be fooled by reforms that make little difference to the way they are treated by the police and security forces," said Philip Luther, the group's interim director for the Middle East and North Africa. "They want concrete changes to the way they are governed and for those responsible for past crimes to be held to account."

The 80-page report said that Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, where popular uprisings succeeded in toppling longtime dictators, still need to ensure that democratic gains are solidified so that past abuses are not repeated.

It called on Egypt's military rulers, who took control of the country after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February, to respect the right of protesters to express their views peacefully. It said Tunisia should ensure that its new constitution, to be drafted in 2012, protects human rights. And it called on Libya to make sure the militias who fought to end Muammar Gaddafi's regime don't continue its repressive practices.

"Muslims and Christians are one hand" : Tahrir Square celebrates New Year’s Eve: Ahramonline - 010112

"Muslims and Christians are one hand" : Tahrir Square celebrates New Year’s Eve

The iconic Square was lit up with candles and fireworks to end the year of the January 25 revolution; tens of thousands of Egyptians affirmed hope and unity, as well as resilience to face the struggles ahead

Sunday 1 Jan 2012

Thousands of Egyptians turned up in Tahrir Square to celebrate the arrival of 2012 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
By 8:30pm Tahrir square was packed. The flag-bearers were back. The neon pink standard of the candy-floss man could be spotted again, bobbing over people’s heads in the crowd. The men with their fireworks had also returned.

People were handing out stickers calling for the release of detained blogger Maikel Nabil and were carrying posters of shaheed (martyrs) commemorating the dead.

Groups huddled together to keep warm.

On the stage the poet Abdel Rahman Youssef was speaking beautifully about the continued fight for freedom. Had this been a few weeks ago, we would have been facing bullets and tear gas. But last night, for the first time in months, it was a celebration.

“I wanted to be here, to see the New Year in the square. It’s important,” Magdy, 54, tells me as he stands next to his daughter who is beaming. “Next year will be good, I hope, but we are in the process of getting freedom, we have a long way to go.”

I bumped into Ramy Essam before he was due to go on stage. Dubbed the singer of the revolution, Ramy was detained and tortured by the Egyptian military back in March. The photos of Ramy’s whipped and beaten back became one the iconic images of the revolution.

“I’m not sure 2012 will be better than 2011, but we will do our best to make it better. We will keep fighting... Right now, everyone here is very happy.” Ramy sang “Irhal” (Leave) to ecstatic crowds, a song he penned in the 18 days and initially dedicated to Mubarak.

Women protesters in Cairo - pictures

Egypt: Thousands of women protesting - December 20


Image of unknown woman beaten by Egypt's military echoes around world, Ahdaf Soueif, The Guardian, 18.12.11.

Image of unknown woman beaten by Egypt's military echoes around world

The arrest and brutal treatment of this young woman reminds us that the revolution is far from over

Syndicate content