Egypt releases protesters
Egyptian authorities have released dozens of opposition activists a day after they were arrested. Demonstrators called for reform and for the repeal of long-standing emergency laws that curtail political freedoms. Several more are still in detention, according to non-governmental organisations.
The activists have links to opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei. A state prosecutor ordered the release of 33 people, including 17 students, on Tuesday. NGOs say 91 people were arrested.
They were arrested when they tried to organise a protest demanding political and constitutional reforms, including the lifting of emergency laws that have been in place for nearly 30 years. One released prisoner said he was violently beaten by a soldier on the orders of a man in civilian clothes.
International observers have condemned the arrests and the US State Department's spokesman Philip Crowley said, "We are deeply concerned about the arrests of Egyptians under the emergency law. The government of Egypt must uphold the rights of all people to express their political views peacefully and ensure due process."
Human rights activists say security forces beat up many youths, including women.
A senior advisor for the Ibn Khaldum Center for Development Studies, Moheb Zaki, told RFI that young women were also targeted.
The interior ministry said Tuesday's protests were unlawful because the protesters had gone ahead with it, even after being denied a permit to demonstrate.
ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, says he is willing to stand against President Hosni Mubarak in a 2011 election as long as the election process is free and fair.