Hosni Mubarak, Democratic reformer:
Plainclothes supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak beat up activists protesting against a referendum on Wednesday on a presidential election system that sets tough conditions for opposition candidates.
Police said they had arrested 46 members of opposition groups in Cairo and the provinces, 25 of them in the Suez Canal town of Ismailia, including local party leaders who took part in a march against the referendum.
In central Cairo, riot police penned in dozens of members of the Kefaya (Enough) protest movement while men in plain clothes dragged some away by force, hitting them as they went.
The men, summoned by police officers, pushed prominent journalist and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Abdel Qaddous to the ground, then kicked and punched him, witnesses said.
Prominent journalist Mohamed Gamal Fahmi received similar treatment, apparently to keep him away from the Kefaya group.
Essam Sultan, one of the witnesses, said: “I saw and heard one of the police generals give orders to the thugs, telling them to go and surround the Kefaya kids and hit them.”
Opposition groups were campaigning for a boycott of Wednesday’s referendum, saying the new system is little different from the old one of referendums on a single presidential candidate chosen in advance by parliament.
This is bad news, and its just too bad Newsweek didn’t cause the beatings. Maybe some people in my party and the administration would notice.