Eight suspects released pending investigations into Warraq Island clashes

Ahram Online , Tuesday 22 Aug 2017

The violence erupted in mid-July after authorities demolished homes deemed illegal structures to make way for a new road

Egyptians shout slogans against the government during the funeral of Syed Tafshan, who died in clash
Egyptians shout slogans against the government during the funeral of Syed Tafshan, who died in clashes with residents of the Nile island of al-Warraq island, when security forces attempted to demolish illegal buildings, in the south of Cairo, Egypt July 16, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)

Eight suspects have been released from custody pending investigations into their involvement in clashes between police and residents of Cairo's Warraq Island in mid-July.

The eight, who are accused of "inciting riots", were released on the order of a Giza judge after a hearing on Tuesday.

A ninth defendant was not able to attend Tuesday's session as he was undergoing medical treatment, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

The suspects are also facing other charges, including "attacking official employees on duty, resisting authorities, attacking policemen, and possessing weapons," Al-Ahram added.

The clashes erupted on 16 July after the government demolished a number of homes that it claimed were illegal structures and encroachments on state property, but which residents maintain were legally owned.

One civilian was killed and 19 injured in the clashes between residents, police and army forces, while at least 33 policemen were injured, according to the interior ministry.  

Thirteen people were arrested for inciting violence against security forces, which added to the tensions between residents and the government.

However, residents claim that the 13 were not responsible for any acts of violence and were arrested at hospital while undergoing treatment for injuries suffered during the clashes.

Similar clashes between security forces and residents of the island took place last year when Egyptian authorities evacuated buildings to construct the Rod El-Farag axis road. Residents were provided either with financial compensation or alternative compensation.

A nationwide campaign against Nile-side encroachments was launched in 2014. Earlier this year, the irrigation and water resources ministry announced that a total of 26,322 violations along the river’s banks had been removed.

The Egyptian parliament is set to vote on a draft law that would re-classify building encroachments on the Nile as a felony, mandating prison sentences for offenders.

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