Every night when Egyptian activist Mohamed Kamel goes home, there is a man outside his building who follows him until he enters the doorway. The figure doesn’t speak; he doesn’t leave his post. He just keeps watch.
“I smile at him and tell him, ‘Please do come up and have dinner with me,'” said the 38-year-old, Cairo-based high school manager. “What else can I do?”
Kamel is part of April 6 Youth Movement, a revolutionary group founded in 2008 to support striking industrial workers. Its members, estimated by the organization to number in the tens of thousands, were also a driving force behind the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. But now, despite having supported the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, the group finds itself under fire from the military-backed government in Cairo. Last week, an Egyptian court outlawed the movement after a lawsuit accused it of espionage and tainting the image of the state.
The group’s most prominent voices, meanwhile, have been thrown in jail. In December, founder Ahmed Maher, 32, and Mohamed Adel, 25, were sentenced to three years in prison for participating in an illegal rally and allegedly assaulting a police officer.