By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: Five, including a policeman, died in clashes between protestors and security forces in Suez and Cairo in which rubber bullets and teargas were reportedly used.
Soliman Saber (40), Mostafa Ragab (25) and Gharib Al-Sayed (45) were shot dead by security forces, while Gharib Abdel Aziz (40) died early Wednesday at the hospital due to injuries, said The Front for Defending Egyptian Protestors (FDEP).
Policeman Ahmed Abdel Aziz was wounded in Tahrir Square after being hit by a stone by one of the protestors and died in hospital.
The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) said in a statement that security officials in Suez claimed that the four protestors who died on Tuesday were killed by two other protestors carrying guns.
No forensic report has been issued yet.
The Suez prosecutor accused Mohamed Gharib and Medhat Ibrahim of the four killings. He also charged eight other protestors of organizing a demonstration without a license and damaging public property.
Activists said that roughly 1,000 people were arrested, but that the confirmed names are less than 200.
“We can’t reach them since they are detained in illegal places and weren’t presented to the prosecution,” Khaled Ali, head of ECESR, told Daily News Egypt.
“There are indications that arrest orders will be issued for many of them and for people who didn’t participate at the protests,” he added.
FDEP said that 16 of the injured were being treated in hospitals. In Cairo, 131 were arrested, 25 in Alexandria, seven in Port Said, four in Mansoura and three in Assiut while the whereabouts of nine arrested protestors were unknown.
Thousands of protestors were forcibly dispersed by security forces in Tahrir Square after midnight on Tuesday.
Police used tear gas to scare off protesters in side streets while a mob of about 35 plain-clothed police officers were chasing down a group of protesters in Falaki square.
Protestors say dozens of tear gas bombs were thrown at them forcing them out of the central square. Abdallah Nasser, member of the April 6 Youth movement who was demonstrating on Tuesday, said police used rubber bullets.
Earlier in the day, thousands of protestors marched through main streets in the capital and gathered in Tahrir Square calling for political and economic reforms as well as regime change.
Police kept engagement to a minimum throughout the day, but then clashed with protestors when they approached the parliament building. Security used water canons to disperse the crowds while they were praying in the square in the afternoon. Protestors climbed the state security truck and obstructed the water canon fixed above it.
Security used teargas and beat protestors with wooden batons. Protestors responded by throwing rocks.
According to the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, arrested and injured protestors were transported to central security camps in each governorate.
“A huge rock was thrown at me by riot police injuring me in the head. I was going to lose consciousness. I was taken to the hospital then I came back to the demonstration,” Abdel Rahman Mamdouh, an engineer, said.
Suez city in Northern Egypt witnessed the most intense clashes that resulted in 77 casualties who were transferred to Al Serag Al Mounir, Al Fairouz, Insurance and Suez Public Hospitals.
Injured protestors in Cairo were taken to Nasser International Institute, Qasr El-Eini and Mounira Hospitals.
“This confirms the Egyptian government’s determination to violate the rights of Egyptian citizens to peaceful assembly and protest and to commit crimes against the Egyptian people,” FDEP said in a statement.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Interior said in a statement that its policy was to allow protestors to voice their demands and exercise their freedom of expression, and that during the course of events, it has exercised maximum restraint and that it had “been committed to securing and not confronting these gatherings”.
“Around 3 pm, a number of protesters, particularly a large number of those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in the Qasr El-Einy Street began to riot, damage public property and throw stones at police forces, leading to the wounding of a number of personnel,” the statement read.
According to the ministry, 18 officers and 85 policemen were injured during clashes with protestors.
Essam El-Erian, prominent MB leader, told Daily News Egypt that a number of MB members participated in the protests yesterday but didn’t commit any violence. The group had earlier said that it wouldn’t join the demonstrations on Jan. 25 but its members were free to do so.
El-Erian denied the Interior Ministry’s allegations that MB protesters rioted in the streets, saying that a huge number of Brotherhood members have been detained but could not confirm the exact number.
“The interior ministry…tries to [hide] its failure in handling the situation,” he said.
FDEP, which includes 30 rights groups, and several public figures filed a complaint to Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud asking him to investigate the death of protestors in Suez.
They accused Minister of Interior Habib Al-Adly and heads of the Cairo Security Forces and State Security Police of excessive violence when dealing with protestors, illegally detaining huge numbers of them and killing three citizens in Suez.
The complaint also accused the Ministry of Health of handing injured protestors to the police to detain them inside hospitals, in addition to accusing the three mobile phone network providers of blocking their services in the Tahrir area where protests took place.
The complaint — which was signed by journalist Hamdy Qandil, founder of the March 9 Movement for University Independence Dr. Mohamed Abo El-Ghar, member of National Association of Change (NAC) George Ishak and head of the Freedom Committee at the Lawyers’ Syndicates Mohammed El-Domiatty — called for forming a committee to investigate the use of violence against protestors, and to release all detainees.
On Wednesday police detained an unknown number of activists attempting to organize a protest in front of the Public Prosecutor’s building, while 200 protestors managed to break the security cordon and rallied in Ramsis square in an attempt to reach Tahrir Square.
A statement by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said that the Egyptian government blocked several websites, namely, Twitter for short messaging, Bambuser for live video streams, and www.dostor.org and www.badil.net e- papers for real time follow up on demonstrations. – Additional reporting by Heba Fahmy, Essam Fadl, Marwa Al-A’sar and Drew Storey.