Egyptian police have broken up a demonstration in support of judges who are facing disciplinary proceedings for criticising last year’s elections.
Journalists covering the protest were also arrested as well-equipped riot police and plain-clothes snatch squads moved into the crowd, making heavy-handedarrests. There were at least three separate demonstrations in central Cairo. Each time the police were quickly on the scene and wasted no time in nipping the protest in the bud. At least six journalists were arrested, and Reuters and al-Jazeera reporters were assaulted, according to a witness. Two judges, Mahmoud Mekky and Hesham Batawisi, went on television to talk about alleged abuses in last year’s presidential, parliamentary, and referendum votes. Their intervention was deemed to be in breach of judicial rules. They are also prominent campaigners for judges’ full financial and administrative independence from the Ministry of Justice. Judges say the ministry wields undue influence over court rulings through its control of salaries, bonuses and sanctions.