CAIRO (Reuters) - Police beat a handful of demonstrators with batons on Tuesday at a protest of about 300 Egyptians gathering against what they said were plans to hand power to the president’s son.
President Hosni Mubarak, 82, in power since 1981, has not said if he will run in the 2011 election. But persistent rumours about his health have helped fuel talk he could hand power to his politician son, Gamal, 46. Both deny any such plan.
Though small by international standards, protests have become more frequent ahead of a parliamentary election in November and the presidential vote next year.
“No, no to succession. No to Mubarak, no to Gamal, no to Alaa,” the protesters shouted, naming the president’s two sons.
The protest was held by April 6 Youth Movement, Kefaya (Enough) and other groups to commemorate the death in 1911 of Ahmed Orabi, an Egyptian nationalist and military officer who led a revolt against Egypt’s ruler Khedive Tawfiq.
“We here repeat the slogan ‘We will not be inherited as of today’ which leader Orabi said to the Khedive and the European powers,” said Mohamed Ehsan Abdel Kodous of Egypt’s main opposition group the Muslim Brotherhood.
Wafaa Hanafy Sehab, a lawyer and political activist, who was at the protest, said it was the first of a series of protests calling for Egyptians not to vote.
“We are for boycotting elections because they are a sham,” she said.
Analysts say the opposition has yet to show it can rally mass protests in a country of 78 million to force change on a government that has huge security forces at hand. But protests are drawing unwelcome international attention, they have said.