Egyptian Authorities Must Refrain from Violent Suppression of Protests

Washington

Freedom House is deeply concerned by increasing levels of violence in Egypt, including large-scale arrests of demonstrators, reports of police brutality, and increased censorship of both media and social networking sites. Freedom House calls on the Egyptian government to immediately release those arrested and to allow citizens to peacefully protest.
 
In an effort to prevent a repeat of yesterday’s protests, Egyptian authorities have followed through on threats to arrest those attempting to demonstrate. More than 800 peoplehave been arrested, and there have been numerous reports of excessive force by police. Twitter has been shut down and Facebook has faced periodic interruptions as the Mubarak regime attempts to further quell the ability of protesters to plan and gather. Al Jazeera’s Cairo office has been closed and other major online news websites, as well as cell phone networks, have been blocked. According to reports, government officials are putting pressure on providers to cripple the communications infrastructure so as to disrupt the protests.
 
“The tactics used by the Egyptian government to prevent the demonstrations, in addition to depriving citizens of their basic freedoms, only reinforce the grievances of the protesters,” said David J. Kramer, executive director at Freedom House. “Freedom House calls on Egyptian authorities to loosen controls on the internet and other media, to release those arrested, and to allow citizens to have their say without threat of punishment.”
 
Among the demands of protesters is a promise that neither Mubarak nor his son will run in the upcoming presidential elections; that all political prisoners be freed; that the long-standing emergency law be repealed; and that the newly elected parliament, attained through elections widely considered fraudulent, be dissolved.
 
Egypt is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2010.
 
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.  
 
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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhouse). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter.