Saturday, May 5, 2012

At least one killed and 373 wounded during fighting near Egyptian ministry of Defense in Abbasiya

 Military police in action in Abbasiya. (Egypt Independent)

Update: Egypt's military officials moved swiftly Saturday to prosecute protesters they blamed for an attack on the Defense Ministry on Friday. Military prosecutors interrogated hundreds of demonstrators, referring some 300 of them to 15 days detention pending investigation into accusations of attacking troops and disrupting public order. At least two detainees face accusations of killing a soldier in the Friday violence, a prosecution official said.

Clashes between protesters and military police outside of the Ministry of Defence in the eastern Cairo district of Abbasiya left at least one dead and 373 wounded on Friday. Egyptian army soldier Samir Anwar Samir died Friday from a gunshot wound to the stomach.Tahrir Doctors, a group of medical doctors who voluntarily aid those injured at protests, stated on their official site that at least two had died at the Zahara Hospital in the Abbasiya area, Cairo, due to gunshot wounds. Two more at the same hospital, according to the statement, are in critical condition after being shot too.
The ruling supreme council of the military (SCAF) said groups attacked the army outside of their headquarters earlier that afternoon.Egypt's military police fired water cannons at protesters 3:30pm Friday, shortly after thousands-strong marches reached the army headquarters, in protest of the ruling military council. Protesters responded with stones as clashes broke out.
How the fighting started is still unclear.  The military Council (SCAF) announced a curfew on Friday from 23 p.m till 7 a.m on Saturday. The military prosecution started to interrogated over 170 people who were detained during the clashes.
The marches had been organized by 15 political groups including the April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolution Youth Coalition, the National Front for Justice and Democracy and the Youth for Justice and Freedom, in solidarity with the week-long sit-in at the military headquarters.

Friday also a protest was held  at Tahrir Square, called for by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) under the somewhat strange name 'Final Friday'. This demonstration was supported by the liberal Ghad Al-Thawra party and the Islamist Reform and Development Party, as well as Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya. The FJP called for the immediate cessation of the use of force against the demonstrators in Abbasiya. In a six point list of demands it furthermore called for an end of the military regime, and the repeal of Article 28 of the March 2011 Constitutional Declaration which gives the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission immunity from appeal and for the removal of the current government. Moreover the FJP demanded that the SCAF ends its interference in the drafting of the constitution, that the presidential elections will be held on time and under supervision of a body of judges, and that SCAF hands over power to a civilian authority by 30 June 2012.

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