Egypt: Protests and Mass Arrests Ahead of Elections
After one soldier’s death and 400 were wounded between protesters and security force clashes on Friday, Egypt imposed a new curfew of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The incident marked the second time in a week that protests over the army’s handling of Egypt’s transition from army rule to civilian government have turned violent. In addition to the curfew, 300 people were arrested and will be detained for 15 days pending investigation into accusations of attacking troops and disrupting public order. Hours later, it was reported that women were released. ”The military judiciary has decided to release all the women,” said a military source. Several political movements and coalitions have called for a protest march today, demanding the release of those arrested over the weekend. Organizers of the march are demanding that officials responsible for the Friday violence be held accountable and that political activists be released.
Dan Ephron calls the most recent protests a “revolution hangover,” and asks, “Is another revolt on the way?” Ephron interviews Said Sadek, a political sociologist who participated in the protests last year, who didn’t rule out the possibility that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) would try to find some pretext to postpone the presidential vote or overrule the results. But he also said the council fears the waves of protests that such a move would generate. Peter Beaumont says the next three weeks leading up to elections, and the months that follow it, “will be very messy.”
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems released a report titled “Elections in Egypt: May 23-24 Presidential Election,” in which questions are answered about Egypt’s upcoming presidential race. Questions ranging from, “Who will Egyptians Elect on May 23-24, 2012?” to, “Is there a code of conduct for the media during the electoral campaign?” this FAQ provides answers to clarify any ambiguity.