Dozens of arrests by Egyptian security ahead of COP27 climate summit- rights group | Techno Glob

CAIRO, Nov 1 (Reuters) – Egyptian security forces have arrested around 70 people in connection with calls for protests on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit, a rights group said.

They briefly detained an Indian activist after leaving Cairo for a protest march.

The arrest comes after some social media users, including exiled former construction contractor and actor Mohamed Ali, renewed anti-government protests in Egypt on November 11.

The COP27 United Nations climate talks will take place from November 6 to 18 in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

As of Monday, at least 67 people had been arrested in Cairo

And other cities have appeared before state security courts in the past few days and on November 11 in connection with calls for protests, said Mohamed Lotfi, director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), a non-governmental organization. .

According to ECRF, some were detained on charges of spreading fake news after sharing content calling for demonstrations on Facebook pages.

Witnesses say there has also been an increase in spot checks in which plainclothes security officers check pedestrians’ mobile phones and social media accounts.

A Home Ministry spokesperson did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment. An emailed request for comment on the COP27 presidency was not immediately responded to.

On Sunday, Ajit Rajagopal, an Indian activist, was detained overnight in Cairo as he aimed to walk a hundred kilometers to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Rajagopal told Reuters that he was questioned for several hours about what he was doing in Egypt and why he was carrying posters describing and showing the route of his march.

“I explained to them that I don’t want to add to the carbon footprint in Egypt, that’s why I’m walking,” he said.

Rajagopal said he was still trying to get approval for COP27 after leaving on Monday, but had no intention of resuming his march.

Egypt has effectively banned public protests following a crackdown on political dissent that began in 2013 when then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.

Sisi, who was elected president in 2014, says the security measures were needed to stabilize Egypt. The crackdown caught liberal activists as well as Islamists.

Egypt’s COP27 president has said protests will be allowed in designated areas in Sharm el-Sheikh during the summit, but campaigners have expressed concern that their voices will be stifled.

A call for protests against alleged official corruption by exiled former contractor Ali led to rare protests against Sisi in 2019 and thousands of arrests, according to rights groups.

Some of those arrested were released this year as part of an amnesty initiative linked to political dialogue, although rights advocates say arrests also continue.

One of Egypt’s most prominent activists, Egyptian-British citizen Alaa Abd al-Fattah, was arrested during the 2019 crackdown and has spent more than 200 days in prison on hunger strike.

Abd-al-Fattah will stop consuming honey, tea and milk from Tuesday and plans to stop drinking water from November 6, when COP27 opens, his family says.

Earlier this year, Abd al-Fattah found himself consuming minimal calories to sustain the strike, he says.

(This story has been refiled to correct a spelling error in paragraph 10)

Reporting by Aidan Lewis and Farah Safan, Editing by Angus McSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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