Tarek Shams shown together with his son (Photo: Free Tarek Shams facebook page)
A Facebook page has been set up in solidarity with Tarek Shams, one of those accused of burning the Scientific Institute on Cairo's Qasr El-Aini Street. The page claims that Shams is being wrongly detained and accused despite his "complete innocence."
The page explains that Shams is being accused of the destruction of public property, attacking police and military and burning the Scientific Institute. The accusations are based on a video in which he is reported to say: “Why should they [the protesters] put out the fire.” The page further states that Shams was simply expressing his anger that civilians were trying to put out the fire while officials were standing still leaving the historic building to burn.
A protest is planned in solidarity with Shams on Sunday at 3pm in front of the Supreme Court in Cairo. Shams is a father of two who, according to the Facebook page, “happened to be at the scene of the clashes.”
The historic Institute building was destroyed during clashes that erupted after the military forcefully evacuated a Cabinet sit-in on 16 December. During the five days of violence, 16 protesters were killed and 928 injured, according to health ministry estimates.