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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Egypt: Marches tp commemorate the victims of Mohamed Mahmoud clashes victims in Cairo

Protesters commemorating the victims of Mohamed
Mahmoud clashes

Today, on 19 November 2012, Egyptians commemorate the victims of last year’s Mohamed Mahmoud clashes which took the lives of 47 protesters and injured hundreds. The peaceful sit-in in Tahrir Square was violently dispersed by Egypt’s security forces which used the excessive measures against the demonstrators. Police and security forces have been shooting the protesters with the bird shots and live bullets and also tear-gassed the crowd. The medical authorities reported that nearly the half of the dead protesters was shot with the live ammunition, while the cause of other deaths was tear gas. A lot of people were seriously injured during the clashes, while many of them have lost their eyes, so this became a sign of those clashes.

Today, on Monday 19 November, fifty Egyptian political parties and organizations have organized the marches in Tahrir and in Mohamed Mahmoud Street to commemorate the victims of police and security forces’ brutality.

Several thousand protesters have gathered in Tahrir and in the neighboring Mohamed Mahmoud Street in the afternoon. The university students started their march from Cairo University.

The stages have been erected in Tahrir Square by some of the political forces and activists, such as Revolutionaries of Egypt, Ultras Ahlawy, National Assembly for Change and the movement Kafaya (Enough). Popular Socialist Alliance Party, liberal Wafd Party, April 6th Youth Movement, Maspero Youth Coalition, Constitution Party and other forces have been also participating in the marches.

The commemoration is planned to start on Monday and to continue till Friday.

In the evening the numbers of the protesters increased. The demonstrators have carried the banners and the pictures of slain protesters and of some revolutionary icons, such as Mina Daniel and Emad Effat. The people have been chanting against police brutality and against SCAF which was in power in November 2011 and also against retired head of SCAF Mohamed Hussein Tantway. There were also strong anti-Muslim Brotherhood’s sentiments as the protesters were chanting against the group referring to their reaction on the last years clashes, when Muslim Brotherhood distanced themselves from the clashes and were trying to appease the military ahead of the parliamentary elections where the Islamist group was expected to receive a lot of voices.

Egyptian protester injured during today's clashes
The people were also chanting for justice and responsibility, as the families of those killed and injured during the terrible Mohamed Mahmoud clashes are still awaiting the court’s verdicts. Despite the fact that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy issued his presidential decree in July 2012 ordering to form the special fact finding committee to investigate the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes and the killings of the protesters during the transitional period, those responsible for the clashes and deaths are still not punished. Meanwhile Egyptian Human Rights activists claim this case is one of the most important tests for Egyptian President.

The protests were relatively calm until the demonstrators didn’t reach the concrete walls which were erected by the Security Forces on the roads leading to the Ministry of Interior. Security forces and policemen are standing between the building of the Ministry and protesters trying to prevent the people to get closer to the Ministry.

The clashes erupted later between the protesters and the police forces. Both sides were throwing stones at each other; the canisters with the tear gas have been also used by the Security Forces. There were the reports that the gun fire was heard at the scene, but it was not clear whether this sound comes from the bird shots or live ammunitions.
According to the reports some of the protesters were using Molotov cocktails. Some of the trees in the area were set ablaze.

Numbers of the wounded among the protesters are increasing; they are treated in the neighboring hospitals. The motorbikes were driving around helping to carry the injured protesters to the safe places, just like it was one year ago during the clashes.
Meanwhile Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced 3 officers and 5 soldiers were injured during today’s clashes. According to the reports dozens of the protesters were also wounded and transported to Tahrir Square for receiving the first aid.