Sunday, March 06, 2011

Egyptian Security Forces Attack Demonstrations Outside the Interior Ministry

Egyptian protesters clash with troops over Mubarak documents

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Protesters and Egyptian security and armed forces clashed Sunday outside the Interior Ministry headquarters as residents expressed anger at reports that documents relating to ousted strongman's Hosni Mubarak's rule were being destroyed.

Sunday's clashes capped a weekend of demonstrations outside the headquarters of Egyptian security organs over the reported incineration of documents relating to orders carried out under Mubarak. Protesters showed badly burned documents to reporters on Saturday, though the substance of the documents was impossible to determine.

Sunday, eyewitnesses told CNN that the armed forces responded by attacking the crowd outside the Interior Ministry. Gunshots could be heard, and protesters said they were struck by stun guns. Other protesters reported that pro-Mubarak gangs that operated in the waning days of Mubarak's rule made a comeback.

Protesters told CNN that these gang members threw Molotov cocktails at them and that some people were badly beaten.

Egypt has been ruled by a military council since the revolt that toppled Mubarak in February. The generals issued a statement Sunday night that did not directly address the protests, but warned Egyptians that their "citizen's duty" was to return any documents from the security agencies immediately.

"Do not share state security documents with any news media," the military statement declared. "It is your duty as a patriotic citizen to hand over these documents to the military. Some of the documents contain specific names, and their disclosure could evoke a national security issue." Anyone caught acquiring or sharing those documents faced interrogation, it warned.

Mubarak stepped down February after more than two weeks of demonstrations that brought an end to his nearly 30-year rule. Protests have persisted as Egyptians demand promised reforms from the military government, which has said it will run the country for six months or until elections can be held.

CNN's Nima Elbagir contributed to this report

Find this article at:

Protesters Attacked in Cairo as Egypt PM Names New Cabinet

VOA News March 06, 2011

Hundreds of protesters, trying to break in the state security headquarters, are contained by Egyptian soldiers in Cairo on March 6, 2011.

Egypt's new prime minister named a caretaker Cabinet Sunday as armed men in plain clothes attacked hundreds of protesters demanding reform of the country's hated state security services at a rally outside the Interior Ministry in Cairo.

Dozens of men wielding knives, firebombs and rocks confronted demonstrators as Egyptian soldiers fired into the air and used stun guns to disperse a crowd that wanted to storm the state security agency inside the ministry building.

In the last two days, protesters have broken into 11 offices belonging to the state security police across the country, seizing documents they feared would be destroyed by officers to cover up alleged abuses by the force.

Dismantling the agency has been a key demand of the protest groups that led the uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak.

In a move designed to respond to such demands, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf named Mansour el-Essawy the country's new interior minister Sunday. He will replace Habib al-Adly, who is on trial for corruption charges. Mr. Sharaf also replaced the key foreign affairs and justice ministers.

His purge of Mubarak-era Cabinet officials meets some of the demands by reformers.

Nabil Elaraby, a former judge at the International Court of Justice, accepted his appointment as foreign minister. He will replace Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who has held the post since 2004 and is the most prominent of Mr. Mubarak's ministers to remain this long.

The reshuffle is another step by Egypt's ruling military council to respond to popular demands as it charts a course to parliamentary and presidential elections later this year. Last week, the council appointed Mr. Sharaf, a former transportation minister, to replace Ahmed Shafiq, whom Mr. Mubarak appointed during his last weeks in power.

Mr. Sharaf, a civil engineer, has the backing of pro-democracy youth protest groups. The new Cabinet will require the approval of the council, which is headed by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

Late Saturday, protesters stormed the main state security headquarters in the Cairo suburb of Nasr City, seizing documents, lists, photos, maps, diagrams and videotapes. On Friday, protesters said they found burned and shredded documents when they raided another security compound in the northern city of Alexandria.

A series of suspicious fires in security and financial investigation offices has some Egyptians convinced that senior officials are trying to destroy evidence.

By Sunday, protesters already were uploading some of the seized documents onto the Internet and disseminating them via Twitter and other social media sites. Egypt's prime minister and state prosecutor have urged people to return materials, in order to preserve national security.

Find this article at:

No comments: