Excursions on the Middle East, politics, the Levant, Islam in politics, civil society, and courage in the face of unbridled, otherwise unchecked power.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Thugs attack Ayman Nour in Hurghada: standard--state encouraged--practice for dealing with dissidents in Egypt
Dina Guirguis, Executive Director of Voices for a Democratic Egypt, reports in an email on October 24, 2009:
"At the conclusion of a tour conducted by former presidential candidate Ayman Nour of towns and cities in the Red Sea governorate, a brutal assault by "thugs" occurred this evening (Cairo time) on Nour and his associates as they were exiting a restaurant in the Sheraton Street in the Red Sea town of Hurghada. The assailants attacked Nour's press secretary, Ahmed Abdel Gawad, who was accompanying Nour, with canes, and attempted to steal and confiscate his camera and documents in his possession. The restaurant owner intervened by bringing Nour and his party back into the restaurant and securing the restaurant against the assailants' entry.
"As of now, the assailants are surrounding the restaurant and are chanting pro Mubarak slogans. Some of the assailants have been identified by some Al Ghad party members in Hurghada as NDP affiliates.
"Attempts by Nour to contact the police and the prosecutor's office are to no avail, and despite the call for assistance to various law enforcement agencies, no police or officials have responded.
"At this time, Nour and his party remain trapped in the restaurant. Nour has stated he will remain inside until there is a response from the Hurghada General Prosecutor's office. Nour and his party remain endangered.
Later the same day:
"A showdown which lasted an hour and half between assailants identified (by Al Ghad Hurghada members) as NDP affiliates and former presidential candidate Ayman Nour and his associates, which included a US citizen, has concluded. Reportedly, up to 500 Hurghada residents turned out in the street in which the restaurant where Nour and his associates were taking cover is located, and demonstrated in support of Nour, outnumbering the assailants, and forcing security to intervene.
"Security forces have now safely escorted Nour and his associates to the airport, where they are scheduled to depart to Cairo on a flight at 1 am Cairo time. Nour supporters and political activists are gathering at the airport in Cairo to express solidarity with Nour and his associates upon their arrival."