CAIRO: Egyptian security bodies cracked down on hundreds of demonstrators protesting against the succession of Gamal Mubarak to his father, incumbent President Hosni Mubarak, on Tuesday.
The demonstration was scheduled to take place in front of Abdeen Palace, the former residence of Egypt’s King Farouk, in downtown Cairo, but hundreds of riot police surrounded the area from Mohamed Farid Square to Abdeen Square, closing off all the main routes leading to the palace and preventing many protestors from reaching the location.
The underground metro exits were also blocked by riot police, described by activist Ahmed Samir as “an Egyptian army.”
Many protestors were beaten and detained for hours by riot police to prevent them from reaching the location of the demonstration and several reporters were also prevented from going through.
There were protests in Alexandria and Port Said in addition to Cairo.
The Obama administration is urging Mubarak to hold free and transparent elections — but, as noted in this space before, has ended a Bush-era program at the US Embassy to reach out to Egyptian democracy activists directly.