Egypt: Nearly 600 injured in violent Egyptian clashes

NEARLY 600 people were injured in violent clashes between protesters and security forces in the Egyptian capital that flared last night and were still raging today, Al Jazeera reported. Protesters frustrated by the slow pace of reform under the interim military rulers since the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in February clashed with security forces in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution. Protesters hurled rocks at security forces near the interior ministry. The security forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. The health ministry said that 590 people were injured so far in the clashes. A total of 75 people were hospitalized, with 33 people still undergoing treatment today, the Al Ahram daily reported.

At the peak of the violence overnight, an estimated 3,000 protesters were in the square, and numbers swelled again today. Protesters chanted “The people demand the fall of the field marshal,” a reference to Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which will rule Egypt until the next elections, slated for September.

According to the interior ministry, the trouble started when a group of people stormed a theater where a memorial service was being held for those killed in the uprising against Mubarak, AFP reported.

A security official said that the group then headed to the state TV headquarters and was joined by hundreds who began to throw rocks before heading to Tahrir Square.

But activists said that the families of the victims were denied entry to the memorial in Cairo and beaten by police. Victims’ families are frustrated by the slow pace of the prosecutions of regime officials accused of orchestrating the crackdown before Mubarak’s fall.

The ailing former president has been charged with ordering the killings, as well as graft, but has not yet appeared in court.

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Jun 29, 2011 by

Egyptian police on Tuesday clashed with protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the revolt that swept former president Hosni Mubarak from power five months ago.  Officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowds, some of whom threw stones and firebombs.  Authorities said at least five civilians and 26 police officers were injured.  The clashes followed a sit-in outside the headquarters of Egyptian state television.  It was organised by relatives of those killed during the Egyptian revolution.

29 Jun 2011

Reuters

By Patrick Werr and Yasmine Saleh

CAIRO, June 29 (Reuters) – Police in central Cairo fired tear gas on Wednesday at hundreds of mainly young stone-throwing Egyptians demanding that trials of former senior officials from the discredited Mubarak era proceed faster.

Clashes broke out late on Tuesday in an area of the capital where some families of the more than 840 people killed in the uprising that led to President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow in February held an event to honour those dead.

Youths said police clashed with them during the event to honour “martyrs”, the term used to describe those killed in protests. The Interior Ministry said it intervened when a group that was not invited tried to barge into the gathering.

At least 41 policemen and four civilians were injured in the violence that continued into Wednesday in Tahrir Square and near the Interior Ministry, the state news agency MENA said.

Early in the morning young men, many stripped to the waist, were still hurling stones at police near the ministry as commuters went to work. Some ordinary Egyptians said those involved were bent on battling police rather than protesting.

By early afternoon on Wednesday, the crowds around the ministry had been dispersed. Eight ambulances were in Tahrir and the police had left the square.

The clashes were the first such violence in weeks in Tahrir, the centre of the revolt that led to Mubarak being toppled.

“The people are angry that the court cases against top officials keep getting delayed,” said Ahmed Abdel Hamid, 26, a bakery employee who was at the scene overnight. He carried stones in his hands.

More Egyptians gathered in Tahrir on Wednesday angered by the way the police handled the crowd overnight.

“I am here today because I heard about the violent treatment of the police to the protesters last night,” said Magdy Ibrahim, 28, an accountant at Egypt’s Banque du Caire.

Some young men lit car tyres in the street near the ministry, sending black plumes of smoke into the air.

MENA, citing a security source, said nine people were referred to the military prosecutor for investigation on suspicion of stirring up the violence.

First aid workers treated people mostly for inhaling tear gas. A Reuters correspondent saw several people overnight with minor wounds, including some with cuts on their heads.

 

“NO JUSTIFICATION”

The ruling military council said in a statement on its Facebook page that the events “had no justification other than to shake Egypt’s safety and security in an organised plan that exploits the blood of the revolution’s martyrs and to sow division between the people and the security apparatus.”

Political activists who have helped organise other recent protests in Tahrir said the angry scenes on Tuesday evening and early Wednesday were not part of any planned protest.

Streets were strewn with stones and bricks. One motorbike near the square was spewing black smoke after being set alight.

A hospital in nearby Munira received two civilians and 41 policemen with wounds, bruises and tear gas inhalation, the state news agency said. All were discharged except one civilian with a bullet wound and a policeman with concussion, it said.

Former interior minister Habib al-Adli has been sentenced to jail for corruption but he and other officials are still being tried on charges related to killing protesters. Police vehicles were stoned by protesters at Sunday’s hearing.

Police used batons, tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition against protesters in the first days of the 18-day uprising before they were ordered off the streets and the army moved in. Mubarak then handed power to an army council.

The former president, now hospitalised, has also been charged with killing protesters and could face the death penalty. Mubarak’s trial starts on Aug. 3. (Writing by Edmund Blair; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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