Autopsy says Egypt activist choked, protest planned

Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:49pm GMT

Said's death has become a lightning rod for activists and government opponents who blame police abuse on the emergency law. In place since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and renewed until 2011, it allows arrests without charge and limits public gatherings.

The United States has urged Egypt to repeal the law. Egypt says the focus of the law is security and drug cases, but critics argue is it used to silence opposition.

A Facebook group memorial page called "We are Khaled Said" has drawn some 130,000 members. It calls on Egyptians to dress in black and stage a silent protest for an hour on Friday.

So far, activists in eight provinces, including Alexandria and Cairo, have announced they will protest simultaneously from 6:30-7:30 p.m. ElBaradei said he would join the protest in Alexandria. Up to 8,000 Egyptians wearing black protested along the corniche in Alexandria last week. Some recited verses of the Koran and Bible.

On Sunday protesters tried to march in downtown Cairo against police brutality and in solidarity with Said, but the gathering was swiftly dispersed after state security men beat and detained demonstrators. (Reporting and writing by Marwa Awad; Editing by Alison Williams)

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