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Hundreds rally to Cabinet HQ to commemorate 2011 clashes

Protesters chanted against military, ministry of interior and ousted president Morsi in the rally

Ahram Online , Monday 16 Dec 2013
Hundreds rally to Cabinet HQ
Hundreds march from Qasr Al-Nil Bridge to Egyptian cabinet to commemorate 2011 clashes (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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Hundreds of protesters marched to the headquarters of the Egyptian cabinet to commemorate clashes that occurred there between protesters and security forces in 2011.

The rally on Monday from Kasr Al-Nil Bridge to the cabinet headquarters on Qasr Al-Aini street included at least 500 people.

Protesters chanted against former Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawy, and former General Sami Anan, who were both leaders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) during the 2011 clashes, as well as current head General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and the Ministry of Interior.

Several people held banners and flags with photos of people killed during SCAF rule following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Clashes at the cabinet headquarters in 2011 were mostly with army forces assigned to secure cabinet headquarters. The army dispersed the sit-in, and during clashes at least 18 people were killed and hundreds were injured.

The protesters also chanted against ousted president Mohamed Morsi, who honoured both Tantawy and Anan in August 2012. While in office, Morsi granted them immunity for events during the SCAF rule in Egypt. 

Among the political movements participating in the rally were the April 6 Youth movement, Revolutionary Socialists, the We Are All Gaber Jika movement, the Way of the Revolution Front, the We're Following You with the Report group, the Nation Without Torture group, and the Askar Kazeboon (Military Liars) group, as well as relatives of victims.

The organizers of the rally said in advance that supporters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood were not welcome to join. A handful of young Brotherhood supporters appeared on Qasr Al-Aini street, but did not join the rally.

The rally was peaceful at the cabinet headquarters, but a few protesters remained and clashed with riot police, despite urges of calm by organizers. Riot police fired tear gas and arrested several people. Security forces had closed off Tahrir Square as soon as the rally started.

The Ministry of Interior said that it granted the organizers of the rally a permit as per the new protest law, but organizers and activists participating in the protest disputed that. Revolutionary Socialist Haitham Mohamedeen and journalist Rasha Azab told journalists that they did not request a permit from the ministry.

The newly-enacted protest law stipulates that acts of protesting must be approved in adcanced by the police or would be illegal and punishable. The law itself was protested by many activists who did not get authorisations from the police, resulting in a number of clashes and arrests in the past weeks.

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