Some 300 protesters marched through downtown Cairo on Thursday evening to protest the incarceration of blogger Maikel Nabil.
The march began in Tahrir Square and ended at the Supreme Court and the offices of the public prosecutor, where protesters continued to demonstrate. Chants rang out against the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and its head, Field Marshall Tantawi, with calls for a reckoning on 25 January. There were also chants against ongoing attacks on civilians by the armed forces.
On December 14, Nabil was sentenced to two years in prison for publishing a blog post criticizing the SCAF. He had orginally been sentenced to three years in prison by a military court, but the sentence was reduced on appeal. The charges against him included insulting the armed forces, publishing false news and disturbing public security.
Nabil was arrested in March 2011, and he has been in jail since then. He claims to have been asked to apologize for his statements in return for possible clemency, but refused. In August, he went on hunger strike.
"Maikel Nabil is one of the first to be tried in a military court for writing about the military," said Methat Awad, one of the protesters. "Maikel is one of the first to reject military trials, and he felt that they [the military] have an eye on power. These people who spoke out at the beginning [of the revolution] had a vision; now we know that the SCAF is the counter-revolution and is maintaining the old regime."
Protesters projected images on the side of the Supreme Court showing attacks carried out by the military against civilians as it broke up the cabinet sit-in on 16 December.
"At the same time that we are holding this protest, officers have been acquited of killing protesters in Sayeda Zeinab on 28 January, which is something I saw myself," continued Awad. "This is the first step, but we need to do more to get Maikel out. These are the kids that made the revolution; they don't deserve this."
Also among those taking part in the march was Abdel-Moneim Shebl, a reporter for the Al-Arab newspaper in London, who told Egypt Independent: "You are in a popular revolution, and it is a constant fight for your demands. Today we are in solidarity with Maikel, tomorrow will be with another prisoner or martyr. We are standing against a repressive regime that is trying to end all this... There is push and pull, but we must keep believing and try to win over those people that are not yet on our side."
Some 12,000 civilians have been tried in military courts since the SCAF assumed power last winter.