Egyptian Youth Activists Arrested For Singing

Young activists from the Egyptian April 6 movement organized a protest over the arrest of 14 of their compatriots. The 14 youths were taken off the beach as they prepared to celebrate a national holiday and are being detained for at least 15 days by the police. Activist Waleed Rashed told the Daily News, “we felt we could spread political awareness through plays and songs. What we were doing was certainly not a demonstration or a protest, but a celebration for Egypt…We also decided to try a new form of protest through patriotic songs.” In Mubarak Egypt, gatherings with more than five people forming an organization of more than five people are outlawed under emergency laws. It is also illegal to hand out leaflets the police deem to be political in nature, and, naturally, that express views contrary to those of the government.

Rashed said they were singing songs and flying a kite which had a picture of the Egyptian flag when police arrived, destroyed the kite for some reason, and then ordered the group off the beach. One can only gather from this incident that Egyptian students should be careful to avoid singing patriotic songs without permission of authorities. Such is the state of democracy in Egypt, in the year 2008.