Egypt lawyers move sit-in to syndicate HQ as police launch counter-demo
Ahram Online, Monday 9 Jul 2012
Ongoing lawyers' sit-in, now in third day, shifts to syndicate headquarters in downtown Cairo as police launch their own sit-in outside Nasr City police station

Egyptian lawyers moved their ongoing sit-in to the Egyptian Lawyers Syndicate's Cairo headquarters on Sunday morning as policemen launched their own counter-protest outside the Nasr City police station.

Lawyers had been staging their sit-in outside the Nasr City police station since Friday, when dozens of policemen clashed with dozens of lawyers. The melee, which left 16 injured from both sides, had reportedly been triggered by an individual altercation between an attorney and a policeman inside the police station.

The lawyers' sit-in was subsequently moved to lawyers syndicate headquarters on Sunday to avoid further clashes with policemen, who began their own sit-in outside the police station.

Lawyers are now demanding that all policemen involved in the fighting be prosecuted. They have also threatened to launch a nationwide strike in the event their demands are not met.

On Saturday, Egypt's interior ministry pledged to put all policemen charged with involvement in the incident on trial within 48 hours. Prosecutors, meanwhile, have reportedly begun investigating the incident.

Ahmed El-Helbawy, head of Egypt's low-ranking officers union, slammed the ministry's pledge, asserting that police would not allow attacks on police and police stations while also guaranteeing lawyers' rights. El-Helbawy also stressed his solidarity with police officers accused of assaulting lawyers during Friday's clashes.

On Saturday, Egypt's general coalition of police officers and non-commissioned security personnel threatened to launch their own nationwide strike in reaction to an earlier threat by the lawyers syndicate to refuse policemen legal representation.

On the same day, lawyers representing policemen charged in the ongoing Port Said stadium disaster trial declined to represent their respective clients.