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Renewed clashes in Cairo leave scores injured

Member of April 6 Youth Movement critically injured, goes into coma, during clashes near interior ministry in central Cairo; anger grows at government failure to reform security forces

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Nov 2012
Mohamed Mahmoud
Demonstrators commemorating Mohamed Mahmoud clashes of last year 19 November 2012 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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Views: 2805

Ongoing clashes near the Ministry of Interior in central Cairo have left one person critically injured and scores transferred to the hospitals, stirring anger at governmental reluctance to restructure the police and security forces.

The critically injured protester has been named as Gaber Salah, known as Jica, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement.

Clashes between police and protesters began on Monday afternoon, during a demonstration commemorating the Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes of last year which left 47 dead and hundreds injured.

The April 6 Youth Movement said initially that Salah died after suffering severe "gunshot" wounds to the head and neck. The movement blamed "his death" on continuing police violence. The activist, according to statement by the health ministry is still alive however, yet in a coma. Injuries have resulted from bird shots.

"Revolutionaries went to the streets to commemorate their martyrs but they became martyrs themselves," the group stated.

Many have blamed the escalating violence on Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and President Mohamed Morsi.

The statement further reminded Egyptians of President Morsi's unmet promises, including the restructuring of the interior ministry and putting former regime figures on trial for the killing of activists.

Meanwhile, several parties and political groups have issued statements condemning the violence and expressing their condolences on the death of Salah.

"The use by police of live ammunition and rubber bullets targeting vulnerable parts of the body is a crime," the Constitution Party said late Tuesday. The lack of accountability for previous killings was the reason behind the current infringements, it added.

The Adl Party and the Egyptian Current Party also blamed on the continuing violence on the lack of police and security force accountability for previous killings.

Political figure Amr Hamzawy condemned the violence saying it was the police's responsibility to control the clashes without infringing human rights.

Meanwhile, Tahrir Doctors have condemned the lack of ambulances at the scene, with only a few ambulances located near Qasr El-Dubara church in a street nearby.

The 'Free the Revolution's Prisoners' group has condemned the torture of those detained during the clashes on Monday and Tuesday. Two of the arrested, named Taysir Abdel-Qader and Mohamed Atef, suffered particularly bad torture, according to the group. Ten protesters remain in custody, the group added, and they will be interrogated by the prosecution on Wednesday.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, have criticised demonstrators and blamed them for starting the violence.

Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein told the Al-Shorouk news website that the violence was "organised chaos." He said he rejected violent self-expression and stressed that protests should be peaceful.

Similarly, Freedom and Justice Party Secretary General in Cairo Mohamed El-Beltagy said the clashes were "planned organised chaos" in a Facebook message.

The Muslim Brotherhood was widely condemned for abandoning protesters and speaking against them during the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes last year. In the commemoration protests which started Monday, protesters hung a banner at the entrance of Mohamed Mahmoud Street reading "Muslim Brotherhood members not allowed here."

Clashes lasted all through Tuesday night in Mohamed Mahmoud Street and nearby Qasr El-Aini Street, which remained closed to traffic on Wednesday morning. Police and protesters exchanged stones. Police used tear gas and (reportedly) rubber bullets, while protesters threw Molotov cocktails.

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