The Andalous Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies published a statement on Sunday evening, condemning “repressive tactics exercised against civilians” by the police. According to their statement police officers carried out “random arrests of a large number of individuals who were incidentally in the area around Abdel Moneim Riad” during clashes last Friday.
Several Egyptian television channels have shown footage over the past few days which clearly show members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups engaged in clashes with other protesters, the institute said. The institute added that not a single member of the ruling party, which had called for the protest, were arrested, despite the overwhelming video footage showing Brotherhood supporters carrying weapons and assaulting other people.
The one-sided arrests, according to the statement, raise many questions regarding the real party responsible for the violence and the credibility of the arrests.
The institute identified 39 people who were arrested, including “intellectuals, writers, minors, a young Syrian national and a teacher of American nationality”.
Charges include endangering the public, vandalism, violence against public officials, and possession of firearms and other “tools that bring about death”, the Andalous Institute said.
Some of the arrested people are also accused of attempting to murder police officers.
“The Andalous Institute… demands the Egyptian government and authorities immediately release those arrested,” the statement read. It also demanded the Ministry of Interior “do their duties professionally and remove themselves from the service of the regime.”
The institute also demanded thorough investigations be conducted and those who were caught on camera be arrested regardless of political affiliation.
Samar Al-Hosseini, the executive director of the institute, said the Ministry of Interior has thrown its support behind whatever government is in place. “They supported [former president] Hosni Mubarak and now they support the Brotherhood,” she said.
Under Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood members were often arrested and arbitrarily detained.
Al-Hosseini said she recommends the government replace the Interior Ministry under civilian control while the government makes necessary reforms. “So far [President Mohamed] Morsi has yet to make any kind of reforms in the ministry and has taken no steps to tackle human rights violations since he has come to power.”