The detentions of 21 protesters in Qena were renewed for 15 days on Tuesday, according to the detainees’ lawyer Ahmed Riyadh.
They are being held under various charges, including rallying, resisting authorities, blocking public roads, carrying out sit-ins, striking and thuggery.
Families living in ‘Ezbet Abu Hamed and ‘Ezbet Khalifa in Qena accused the police of breaking into their houses and arresting over a dozen people on Saturday in an attempt to quell a sit-in.
The Al-Ashraaf tribe, one of Qena’s biggest tribes, met on Tuesday evening with the Qena Security Director Salah Mazeed to resolve tensions in the governorate.
A delegation from the tribe agreed with Mazeed to talk youth out of a sit-in outside Ganoub El Wadi Petroleum Company and allow the company to resume working. A sit-in which began in February has been preventing the company headquarters from working.
In return, Al-Ashraaf Tribe agreed with Mazeed to provide work opportunities at the company for Qena youth. They also agreed to hold an appeals session on Thursday for the detained protesters.
“We blame the security apparatus for this crisis,” said Mohamed Hassan Al-Egl, an Al-Ashraaf tribe member who participated in the tribe’s meeting with the Security Director. “We blame them for forcefully resolving the sit-in, using weapons in the process and raiding peoples’ homes.”
Al-Egl said that if the police only wanted to resolve the sit-in, there was no need to raid houses and issue arrest warrants for people who were not at the sit-in when the police arrived.
Before the meeting with Mazeed, Al-Ashraaf released a statement demanding the release of all the “wrongfully held” detainees and reconciliation with the petroleum company.
Tribal leaders were also able to convince a group of youth to end their protest blocking the railway on Tuesday.
After the arrests on Saturday, Mazeed told state-owned Al-Ahram that the police raided the detainees’ houses after arrest warrants were issued by public prosecutors. Mazeed stated that those arrested are all registered convicts. He added that the security forces exercised self-restraint when dealing with the families “who kept attacking them with Molotov cocktails”.