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October 31, 2011
Police protest

Non-commissioned police officers agreed to end their sit-in in front of the Interior Ministry peacefully, according to a security source, after Minister of Interior Mansour El-Essawy met with representatives of the protesters and promised to meet their demands for fair promotions, better healthcare, a shorter work day, higher wages, and the “cleansing” of the ministry of former regime loyalists. Meanwhile, judges as well as lawyers have been staging intermittent strikes over the past two weeks in an escalating crisis provoked by a controversial draft law on judicial authority that would give judges broad powers to dismiss lawyers from courtrooms for disrespectful conduct.   

PROTESTS:

Non-commissioned police officers agreed to end their sit-in in front of the Interior Ministry peacefully, according to a security source, after Minister of Interior Mansour El-Essawy met with representatives of the protesters and promised to meet their demands. Police had demanded fair promotions, better healthcare, a shorter work day, higher wages, and the “cleansing” of the ministry of former regime loyalists. [Al-Ahram, English, 10/31/2011]

JUDGES’ CRISIS:

Judges as well as lawyers have been staging intermittent strikes over the past two weeks in an escalating crisis provoked by a controversial draft law on judicial authority that would give judges broad powers to dismiss lawyers from courtrooms for disrespectful conduct. Prime Minister Essam Sharaf held a meeting on October 30 with Justice Minister Abdel Aziz al-Gendy, Judge Ahmed al-Zend (chairman of the Judges’ Club) and Interior Minister Mansour Al-Essawy in an effort to diffuse the crisis, and promised that the draft law would not be introduced without the support of the next elected parliament. [Al-Ahram, English, 10/30/2011] [Al-Youm al-Saba’a, Arabic, 10/31/2011]

The Lawyers Syndicate’s freedoms committee submitted a proposal to the SCAF suggesting that elections by monitored by lawyers certified by the Court of Cassation rather than judges. Tensions have been rising between lawyers and judges over the draft law on judicial authority, which has been heavily criticized by lawyers. Judges fired bullets into the air in an attempt to disperse lawyers protesting the draft law outside of the Supreme Judicial Court on October 29. [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 10/31/2011]

ELECTIONS:

Regarding last week's court ruling extending voting rights to Egyptian expatriates, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said, "God willing, we will be able to overcome all legislative and executive obstacles for participation of Egyptians abroad in the elections, and the difficulty of these procedures is outweighed by the ultimate objective of participation." [Al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 10/30/2011]

The National Association for Change warned against conducting elections as scheduled on November 28, in light of current conditions and the continued state of emergency. The NAC called on the government to swiftly reactivate the Nasser-era Treachery Law to bar former regime members from political activity and stressed the need for a “national salvation government.” [Al-Shorouk, Arabic, 10/31/2011]

The Political Party Affairs Committee has granted a license to a new liberal party, Hizb al-Hayat (the Life Party), founded by the prominent Coptic activists Michael Munir. [Al-Shorouk, Arabic, 10/31/2011]

SECTARIAN ISSUES:

Islamic scholars have condemned a recent fatwa by Salafi preacher Mahmoud Amer calling on Muslims not to vote for Coptic and secular candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled on 28 November. [
Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 10/30/2011]

Al-Azhar has issued a document support democratic transitions in the Arab region and advocating reforms to achieve social justice and an equitable distribution of wealth. The document also affirms the right of citizens to reform their societies in accordance with Islamic Sharia principles. [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 10/31/2011]

MEDIA CRACKDOWN:

On October 30, military prosecutors ordered that Alaa Abd El Fattah, a prominent blogger, be held in detention for 15 days on charges of inciting violence against the military. Solidarity protests are being planned in Egypt and Tunisia to protests El Fattah’s detention. The march in Cairo will begin on the evening of October 31 at Talaat Harb Square and proceed to the Appeals Prison where El Fattah is being held. [
Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 10/30/2011] [Al-Ahram, English, 10/31/2011]

TRIALS:

Hosni Mubarak’s trial has been adjourned until December 28, to allow additional time for another court to rule on a request by lawyers for the victims to remove the three-judge panel in Mubarak's trial. The delay is likely to frustrate protesters who are demanding the prosecution of the former president and recovery of the Mubarak family’s assets. [
AP
, English, 10/30/2011]

The April 6 Youth Movement on Monday issued a statement rejecting the interrogation of its members before military tribunals, stressing that its members will defy any summons to appear before military prosecutors. [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 10/31/2011]

The Ministry of Justice decided to release, pending investigation, five officers suspected of destroying documents in the Aswan office of the now-disbanded State Security Investigations Service (SSIS). In March, hundreds of civilians stormed the SSIS offices in Cairo and other governorates following reports that security had been destroying evidence of corruption and abuse. [
Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 10/31/2011]

ECONOMY:


Recent public statements by Finance Minister Hazem Al-Bebawi and other government officials stressing the need for foreign loans have been met by opposition from activists organizing an anti-borrowing campaign under the slogan, "Open Your Eyes, The Debt Comes Out of Your Pocket!”  Organizers of the campaign are opposed to a $3 billion financing package offered by the IMF in June and which may soon be renegotiated. [
Bloomberg, English, 10/31/2011]

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