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Egypt Frees Opposition Protesters


Egyptian authorities say they have released the opposition activists detained Tuesday for holding a protest calling for political reform.

New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch says Egyptian police arrested 91 activists who joined the protest in central Cairo, near the Egyptian parliament.

Egyptian officials say most of the protesters were freed late Tuesday and the remaining 33 were ordered released Wednesday.

Witnesses say Egyptian police broke up the protest by beating the activists and dragging them away. Egypt's April 6 movement organized the rally to demand constitutional reforms permitting more open elections and a lifting of emergency laws enforced for almost three decades.

Egypt's interior ministry says 10 policemen were injured while breaking up the unauthorized protest.

Human Rights Watch condemned what it called the "brutality" with which police dispersed the demonstration.

The April 6 movement is allied to Mohammed ElBaradei, Egypt's former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency. ElBaradei is leading a campaign for political reform in Egypt.

He has expressed a willingness to run against President Hosni Mubarak in an election next year on condition the vote is free and fair.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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