GENEVA – Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties (GCRL) condemns the killing of three demonstrators, the wounding of many others, and the arrest of dozens by the Egyptian security forces using excessive force to suppress and disperse peaceful demonstrations that broke out in separate parts of the country during the past days namely on Friday 25/9/ 2020.
According to Geneva Council, protests have broken out across Egypt and neighborhoods, on September 25, 2020, for the sixth consecutive day against the deterioration of living conditions, the demolition of homes, and to demand the resignation of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. A “Friday of rage” erupted across cities, towns, and rural areas in Egypt, including in the capital, Cairo, and the governorates of Giza, Damietta on the Nile Delta, and Luxor in southern Egypt. Protesters shouted slogans and held up banners calling for the departure of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The protests continued late into the night. Police reportedly took intensive security measures in several areas using tear gas on protesters In several areas, the Egyptian security forces forcefully suppressed them, with fire and tear gas canisters, and pursued them in the secondary streets, leading to 3 deaths and a number of injuries.
Egyptian authorities didn’t provide any official data on the death toll and injuries, but activists reported that the victims during the dispersal of a night-time demonstration in Giza Governorate, west of Cairo, were: Sami Wagdy Bashir, Reda Mohammed Hamid Abu Imam, Mohammed Nasser Hamdi Ismail. Demonstrations started after artist and former army contractor Mohamed Ali, living in Spain, called for anti-government protests on September 20, 2020.
The Egyptian security forces continued their campaign of random arrests in the streets and squares that affected hundreds, searched citizens, and went through their phones in an attempt to stop the demonstrations. In the meantime, the state media is inciting violence against demonstrators by labeling them as foreign agents while not allowing international and independent media to cover the protests.
Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties affirms that peaceful demonstrations and gatherings are a right guaranteed by international conventions and that the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters, killing some, wounding others, and arbitrarily detaining hundreds, constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights.
GCRL considers that the security forces’ resorting to the use of live bullets and various ammunition violates the “basic principles on the use of force and firearms which states the amount of force used should be proportional to the threat and limited to the least amount required to accomplish legitimate police action with other measures ineffective to address the matter. It also calls for an investigation into the shooting incidents that led to the killing and wounding of many, so that those responsible will be held accountable, and the release of detainees that were arrested during the demonstrations.
Geneva Council urges authorities to safeguard the right of all persons to express their views freely and to allow independent reporting and free flows of news.