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Journalists urge freedom for Al Jazeera staff

Protesters take to Nairobi streets to send message to Egyptian government: 'You silence one of us, you silence us all.'
Last modified: 4 Feb 2014 17:30

Anger over the incarceration of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt poured onto the streets of the Kenyan capital on Tuesday.

Dozens of Journalists and civil society activists took to the streets of Nairobi's leafy Lavington suburb to showcase what they called their displeasure at the treatment meted out to Al Jazeera journalists by Egyptian authorities.

Chanting "Being a Journalist is not a crime" and "Free Aljazeera Staff now" they ended their walk at the gates of the Egyptian embassy where a heavy police presence did not deter the protestors from seeking an audience with embassy officials.

When they eventually got to see the officials, the protestors handed them books and an open letter written to Al Jazeera's East Africa Correspondent, Peter Greste. In the letter, the protestors wrote messages of goodwill and support to Peter and his colleagues. However, embassy staff declined to receive them.

The protest was organised by the Foreign Correspondents Association of East Africa.

"We wanted to come together, as both local and foreign correspondents, to protest in Nairobi because we know Peter Greste and we know that these allegations brought by the Egyptian government against him and his colleagues are baseless and unfounded," the head of the organisation, Robyn Kriel, said.

"Peter is our friend and colleague. He was just doing his job to the best of his ability, and we want him and his team released immediately."

'You silence one of us, you silence us all'

Organisers of the protests also launched a social media campaign so that those who couldn't make it to the demonstrations could join the protest. They asked journalists worldwide to tweet or Facebook a picture of themselves with their mouths taped or gagged.

The message? "You silence one of us, you silence us all."

Peter and his Al Jazeera English colleagues, producers Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, have now been detained in Egypt for 38 days without charge.

Two journalists from sister channels Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Abdullah Al Shami and Mohamed Bader, have also been held in Egypt for months.

Al Jazeera denies the allegations against its journalists and has condemned their continuing detention, along with the United Nations, international rights groups and news media figures.

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