Egypt Journalists and human rights monitors (including Amnesty's) under threat

Protests continue in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt (not to mention elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East) with ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The Guardian’s live update is saying that there have been about four separate rumours (all false) going round the square that Mubarak has stepped down.

I’ve also heard rumour that foreigners are being prevented from accessing the square – possibly part of apparent attempts to limit international news coverage of events in Cairo.

This follows on from the Internet being shut down, Al-Jazeera having their office attacked and numerous attacks on journalists. Martin Fletcher from the Times, a good contact who I speak to regularly, was arrested only yesterday (and subsequently released) according to the paper’s leader column today. State-controlled media is reporting but things are being made very difficult for independent journalists

It’s not just journalists, though. Two of my colleagues who are monitoring the situation in Cairo were rounded up yesterday, together with someone from Human Rights Watch and members of local human rights organisations. I’m still waiting for more news of them and we’re all worried for them at Amnesty, and we’ll update our site as soon as we know more. We’re demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all of these human rights defenders

For more context from Amnesty, watch this interview with Senior Director Widney Brown or check out our campaign centre

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