LUXOR, Egypt (AP) — Egyptian police have arrested 10 Nubians for taking part in protests the past two nights over the recent death in detention of a prominent Nubian activist in the southern city of Aswan, security officials and a rights lawyer said Thursday.
The protesters had blocked major streets and railway tracks in Kalabsh village, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Aswan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
Rights lawyer Mostafa el-Hassan said prosecutors ordered those arrested to remain in jail pending trial on charges of protesting illegally, attacking police and disrupting public order. Street protests have been effectively banned in Egypt.
If convicted, the 10 could face up to five-year prison terms, el-Hassan said.
Gamal Sorour, who died in detention on Saturday, was among 25 Nubians arrested in Aswan in September for staging a peaceful protest. They were demanding the return of Nubians to their ancestral lands from which they were evicted in the 1960s to make way for a lake created behind the High Dam on the Nile River. Those detained now face accusations of taking part in an unauthorized demonstration, inciting protest and disrupting public order.
The evacuation of Nubians in the 1960s was the third such wave in southern Egypt since the early 20th century. The other two were also because of dam construction on the Nile.
Nubians complain they are discriminated against because of their dark skin and indigenous language. They suspect authorities see them as a security threat and watch for any signs of secessionist sentiment among their ranks.
A constitution adopted in 2014 gives the government 10 years to resettle the Nubians in dry parts of their ancestral lands, but they say no steps have yet been taken toward this.