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Military takes over state security HQ after fire

With a rash of state security buildings going up in flames, hundreds of protesters in 6th of October governorate call on the army to take over remaining state security headquarters

Ekram Ibrahim , Saturday 5 Mar 2011
State Security Oct6_Amr Bassiouny
Photo: Amr Bassiouny
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Witnessing fire erupting from the state security headquarters in 6th of October governorate, protesters understood that security officials are trying to destroy archives. Accordingly, the community gathered to contain the fire and prevent further burning.

"Since 8am security officials have been burning documents. I came here to prevent them," Marwa Salah, who has been there since 9am, told Ahram Online.

Eyewitnesses agree that security officials not only burned files but also managed to whisk some archives away via three state security cars early in the morning. "We tried to stop the cars from leaving with the documents but they started to shoot in the air and move us away," Salah said.

Around 1000 protesters defied state security personnel. "We entered an underground room and gunshots were fired in the air," said Dina Farid, member of the Lotus Group for supporting the 25 January Revolution, told Ahram Online.

Protesters have found tons of burned files on the ground near the state security building. Photos of those files were taken and posted over Twitter. "We took those documents to report it to the attorney prosecutor," Farid said.

Further, the fire trucks that came to contain the fire were not allowed entry to the state security building, according to several eyewitnesses at the scene.

After many hours, military forces have shown up on the scene. They entered the building and replaced the snipers standing on the building.

Getting inside the state security building was the protester’s mission. Some succeeded to get in and save some important files.

"I managed to get in with a couple of protesters, I have Salafi-related documents in my hands," Amr, a political activist, who preferred his second name not to be mentioned told Ahram Online. According to Amr, no security police officers were present on the scene as they got in, but military forces asked them to leave.

Meanwhile, protesters captured around 30 policemen that were fleeing the state security building and handed them over to the military. "But there is no glimpse of security officers yet," Amr said.

Protesters are planning to stay at the site until the military evacuates the headquarters and it is no longer in the hands of state security officials.

Within the last 24 hours there has been mass burning of archives in state security buildings and protesters surrounding these buildings. Eventually the army takes over the building. Such was the case with the state security headquarters in Alexandria last night. The state security building in Dokki has only seen shots being fired and clashes between protesters and security forces until the military interfered.

Similar reports of fire erupting in state security headquarters around Egypt include those in Nasr City, Zagazig, Domiat, Port Said and Tanta.

"State security officers want to spread chaos in the country as well as burn their documents," said Zaid El-Elimi, lawyer and member of the 25 January Revolution Coalition. Not only chaos, he told Ahram Online, but also to make the mission of the new national security team impossible.

"They are burning our country’s database to find no way out after them," El-Elimi said.

The Muslim Brotherhood released a statement calling on the military to take control over all state security headquarters to thwart any attempt at burning important documents that may be used to prosecute crimes committed by state security personnel for the last 30 years in Egypt.

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