Egypt military attacks Occupy Cabinet protesters: Updates from the day

Ahram Online and Ahmed Feteha in the street, Friday 16 Dec 2011

Ruling military junta cracks down on three-week long sit-in a day after voting closed in latest round of parliamentary elections in Egypt

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Egyptian army soldiers clash with rock throwing protesters near cabinet building, near Tahrir square, Friday (Photo: AP)

9:20 Two protestors are confirmed dead and 223 injured according to to the Ministry of Health.

8:15 Pitch battles continue in Qasr El-Aini Street as security forces attack protesters on the ground with rocks and Molotov cocktails from the roofs of smouldering government buildings. The protesters have been fighting back all day and, with the ruling military council failing to take any action to restrain the forces under their command, this shows no sign of ending any time soon.

7:30 Dr. Mohamed Shehab, deputy director of Qasr El-Aini Hospital, tells Al Jazeera Mubasher that they have seen one death and 54 injuries so far today. Eighteen of those are a result of gunshot wounds.

6:35 Security forces - or their hired thugs - show no sign of letting up in the attack on people in Qasr El-Aini Street. In the dark, they continue to throw rocks down at protesters who in turn are standing their ground.

6:07 In Alexandria, tens of protesters are gathered outside the Northern Military District headquarters.

5:30 The number of injured in the Occupy Cabinet clampdown has risen to 99, according to Adel Adawy, assistant to the minister of health. The injuries include gunshot wounds, broken bones and bruises as a result of the military's use of beatings, stones and pellet bullets.

5:17 Mohamed Morsi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), tells Al Jazeera that he calls on the military council to work on stopping clashes in the Cabinet premises.

Mosri went on to say that: "Time is still on our side. Before it is too late I demand that a full enquiry be called with results announced immediately and those responsible be tried immediately."

Referring to the parliamentary elections, he said: "There are those who want to tarnish our joy at the democratic scene, new parliament and successful elections we are seeing now."

5:02 Night is setting in in Cairo and the rocks continue to rain down on protesters from the security forces on the parliamentary building roof.

4:32 Protesters are hurling makeshift "fireballs" and Molotov cocktails through the windows of an annex to the Parliament building. The building bears the slogan "Democracy confirms the sovereignty of the people” on its front and its roof has been the vantage point from which security forces have been launching rocks and glass at protesters for several hours. According to our Ahram Online reporter at the scene, fire is consuming several rooms in the building.

Football Ultras are also setting off fireworks at the building from Qasr El-Aini Street.

4:12 Protesters have set a police kiosk by the Cabinet building on fire to disrupt the security forces attacking them from the roof. The dense plumes of smoke forced the assailants to retreat briefly. However, now that smoke has begun to fade, they are back in plain view throwing stones and other projectiles at the protesters in Qasr El-Aini Street.

4:00 Adel Adawy, assistant to the minister of health, has insisted that no protesters have died due to the military's clampdown today. Adawy added that the number of injuries has risen from 36 to 52.

3:34 Al-Jazeera Mubashar Egypt is broadcasting protesters on Qasr El-Aini Street chanting "The Army and the police are one filthy hand," as they point at those throwing rocks down at them from the ministerial roofs above.

3:20 Men in plainclothes continues to throw rocks and glass from an annex to the Parliament building on protesters down below in Qasr El-Aini Street.

The parliamentary elections are looking increasingly farcical as freedom of expression outside the seat of government is being clamped down on brutally by the Egypt's ruling military junta.

3:15 Moataz Abdel Fattah, a political science professor at Cairo University, has resigned from the ruling military's newly-established Advisory Council in protest at “the unjustified violence of the military police against peaceful protesters.” Abdel Fattah becomes the second member of the council to resign in protest today after activist and Free Egyptians Party member Ahmed Khairy left it in disgust.

3:02 The field hospital in the Evangelical Church in Qasr El-Dobara near Tahrir Square has been treating the injured since the crackdown by military police. According to Dr Moudi Zaki, who is treating the injured at the church, most of the injuries were sustained by beatings or pellet bullets. Another doctor working at the church, Dr John Adel, says that he treated three cases of pellet bullet injuries.

According to Dr Adel, the hospital has witnessed at least one serious case that was transferred to a nearby hospital. The rest of the cases are being treated at the church.

Our Ahram Online reporter at the scene says that one of the injured appears to be in shock and cannot remember his name and is repeating Quranic verses under his breath.

The church was turned into a temporary hospital to treat the flow of casualties during last month’s clashes in Mohamed Mahmoud Street

2:59 The Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence has said a statement that the manager of the Qasr El-Aini Hospital, to which those injured in today's crackdown were taken, refuses to reveal the names of those admitted. The hospital administrator did say, however, that there are currently 34 injured in the hospital, seven of whom have gunshot wounds.

One of the protesters has a gunshot wound to the stomach and is currently in the operating theatre. Nadeem Center lawyers at the hospital saw three protesters who had been shot in the stomach.

2:55 Ahmed Khairy, a political activist and a member of the political bureau of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, has announced his resignation from the SCAF's Advisory Council in response to the forceful disruption of the Occupy Cabinet sit-in this morning. 

2:50 Presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei said on Twitter: “Even if that sit-in violates the law, does that justify dispersing it with that brutal and barbaric way which violates all human laws? Countries are not run like that.”

In another tweet he added: “If the prime minister has all the authorities of the president, including those related to security, why did the military police intervene? Who is responsible about that?”

2:35 Adel Adawy, assistant to the minister of health, has announced that 36 protesters have been injured during the crackdown on the Cabinet sit-in. According to Adawy, ten of the injured were treated at the scene, while the rest were sent to various hospitals.

2:30 Tens of protesters in Qasr El-Nil Street are chanting against Egypt's military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi. "The people demand the execution of the Field Marshal," they are shouting.

2:15 A doctor at the scene told Ahram Online that the fighting began when a group of protesting Ultras were playing a football match early in the monring in front of the Cabinet building. The ball flew into the building's courtyard. When one of the Ultras, named Aboudy, jumped into the building to try and retrieve the ball, he was brutally beaten by security forces. He is now in Qasr El-Aini Hospital.

2:05 Security forces have created a cordon in front of Sheikh Rihan Street, which leads to the Ministry of Interior. Although there have been reports that protesters are now heading to Tahrir Square, the traffic in the square is so far normal.

2:00 About ten people have climbed aloft the cabinet building and are throwing stones at protesters demonstrating below. Protesters are waving at the security forces on top of the building and screaming "if you are real men, come down."

1:35 Fighting has resumed once again after protesters detained by security forces were released.

A group of 20 protesters were detained between the cabinet building and the Taawon gas station in Qasr Al-Aini Street, but were slowly released after being beaten. However, one of the protesters threw a stone at the security forces which then led the latter to renew their attacks on protesters by beating them with plastic batons and electric sticks. A group of twenty protesters are now trapped in a sideway street leading to the district of Garden City and are unable to escape.

Several commando officers are also now on the scene.

12:50 Egyptian activist Ziad El-Eleimi was beaten by security forces amid the clashes that erupted on Friday morning between protesters staging a sit-in in front of the cabinet headquarters and security forces. El-Elemi, a founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party , is also a lawyer, human rights activist and a founding, and leading member of the Revolution’s Youth Coalition (RYC). El-Elemi was at the top of the candidate list of the electoral alliance of the Egyptian Bloc for a seat in one of Cairo’s districts during the first phase of the elections.

12:45 Fighting has stopped for now between protesters and military police in front of the Cabinet offices in downtown Cairo after the former came under attack from the Army.

According to an Ahram Online reporter on the scene, a line of soldiers are blocking any approach to the Cabinet while a group of protesters are being detained in Qasr El-Aini street.

After being held for some time, the detained female protesters were slowly released. Our reporter witnessed several of them wounded and in obvious shock while one was unable to walk and had to be carried.

Activist Nour Ayman Nour, son of possible presidential candidate Ayman Nour, was among those detained in the street. He told Ahram Online that security forces agreed to release all those who are held in the street with the exception of protester Mohamed Magdy, who will be handed over to the Ministry of Interior.

10:45 A stone fight erupted early Friday morning between military police and protesters staging a sit-in in front of the Egyptian Cabinet offices. Military police then attacked protesters forcing them to leave Qasr El-Aini street, leaving scores injured. Many protesters have been arrested.

Eyewitnesses told Ahram Online that several unidentified attackers climbed neighbouring buildings around the Cabinet offices in Maglis Al-Shaab Street in downtown Cairo, and began hurling stones and wood panels at the protesters down below.

Most protesters are now in the neighbouring Qasr El-Aini Street in front of the Shura Council (upper parliamentary house). Several activists have since called for a march towards Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the Egyptian revolution to protest the latest attack.

Hundreds of protesters began an open-ended sit-in outside the Cabinet building on 25 November to protest the appointment of Kamal El-Ganzouri as prime minister, preventing the 77-year-old, Mubarak-era politician from gaining entrance to his office.

On Wednesday, 14 December, 60 protesters suffered severe food poisoning – with at least eight being hospitalised – after an unidentified woman distributed Hawawshi (spicy minced meat) sandwiches at the sit-in. Rumours and accusations subsequently spread that the sandwiches had been deliberately contaminated to force the protesters to clear the area.

Earlier today, military police had briefly evacuated the streets from protesters, by firing live ammunition in the air to disperse them.

At the same time, a fire erupted in the Authority for Roads and Bridges on Qasr El-Aini Street near the cabinet. Firemen have since brought the blaze under control.

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