Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [NYT backgrounder] on Thursday called for an end to violence against protesters and reiterated that demonstrations were a protected right, as long as they were done peacefully. The SCAF also assured citizens that arrested demonstrators would be released [Al Jazeera report], possibly by Saturday. Protesters have been clashing with Egyptian security forces for 6 days [JURIST report] over concerns with actions taken by the military ruling council. The SCAF assured Egyptians that elections would begin on Monday as scheduled, despite the continuing protests.
The November 28 election is considered the first free election following the overthrow [JURIST report] of Mubarak in February. Earlier this week, the Egypt Supreme Administrative Court suspended a verdict [JURIST report] handed down last week by the Mansoura Administrative Court that prohibited former officials of the National Democratic Party (NDP) to participate in the upcoming election. As a result, most of the officials who joined other parties or plan to run independently are now allowed to continue their campaigns for the election. This month, Egypt stated that it will amend its constitution [JURIST report] based on a court ruling from a week before in order to allow citizens living abroad to vote in the parliamentary election. In addition, the SCAF announced that it will create a law that will ban [JURIST report] anyone found guilty of corruption from the election process. Mubarak himself is faced with charges of complicity in the deaths of more than 800 protesters [JURIST report] during the pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt [JURIST news archive]. His trial was adjourned [JURIST report] last month and will not resume until December 28. Also last month, an Egyptian court overturned [JURIST report] a ban prohibiting formation of religious-based political parties. Some restrictions, however, still exist in the election process such as prohibition of using religious slogans [JURIST report] during campaigns.