Egypt: Government Considers Banning Demonstrations
Sunday, March 5,2006 00:00
By Al-Qudos al-Araby
Al-Qudos al-Araby newspaper learned that the Egyptian government considers banning demonstrations during the incoming period. The procedure coincides with the decision of the Judges Union to step up their campaign against denying them the right to know the amendments introduced by the pro-government Supreme Judiciary Council to the union-made judiciary power bill. According to the chief of Alexandria Judges Union, Mahmud el-Khadary, the action to ban demonstrations is aimed at the judges to hinder thier campaign for judiciary reform. In fact, the security apparatus fears an expansion of the scope of protest that may draw the attention of the West since the participation of judges in demonstrations is unprecedented in modern Egyptian history.      
In this respect, the local districts authorities in Cairo repeated its call for the owners of shops to alert police of any activities by the Egyptian Movement for Change, Kefiya and other political groups who have organized numerous demonstrations recently on the assumption that these protest slow the traffic and incur shops with huge loses for clients flee away in fear of being harmed during demonstrations.
Despite theses measures, Kefiya arranged its latest demonstration, in mid- February at El-Tahrir Square in Cairo, to support judges who resist threats and the regime blackmail, as they termed.
In statements to Al-Qudos Al-Araby, George Ishaq, Kefiya’s Coordinator asserted the movement’s sympathy with the Egyptian judges for their historical role in the battle for freedom. Ishaq appealed to the maority of Egyptians to break their silence and to back judges so Egypt can get rid of the ruling corrupted elite. Ishaq stressed Kefiya will persist on protest, no matter what the price is. 
In another significant development, judges decided to arrange their first demonstration in Cairo within the few coming weeks while bearing their medals and professional decorations. El-Khadary emphatically said judges intent to proceed till their demands are met. He added the Egyptian government is mistaken if it thinks that judges,’ guards of justice ’, can either be threatened or bribed.
El-Khadary indicated that the union’s possession of documents that confirm cases of ballot rigging in three constituencies during the outgoing parliamentary polls comes as a heavy blow to the regime which alleges fostering democracy.   
Asked about ongoing negotiations to bring about reconciliation between the regime and the union, El-Khadary said judges’ demands need no open or secret negotiations. The government should yield to them ending up its delutional policies that have been employed skillfully over the past years. In addition, he voiced his speculation that the administration will not give up its battle with judges easily in order to guarantee its unchallenged dominance and its practices of large-scale rigging in the coming stage.