Thursday, July 07, 2011

Protesters Attack Egyptian Police Headquarters

Protesters attack Suez police headquarters

By Mohamed Fadel Fahmy
CNN July 6, 2011
10:40 p.m. EDT

Protesters threw stones at the Suez Police headquarters in Suez, Egypt, on July 6

The Cairo Criminal Court orders the release of 14 policemen

Families of the dead and others stage a sit-in
Violence breaks out when an appeal for the release is rejected

Cairo (CNN) -- Protesters attacked Suez Police headquarters on Wednesday after a Cairo Criminal Court rejected an appeal against the release of 14 police officers charged with killing protesters during the recent Egyptian revolution.

Cairo Criminal court on Monday ordered the release of 14 policemen including high-ranking officers accused of firing live ammunition and deliberately killing protesters during the January 25 revolution. The bail was set at 10,000 Egyptian pounds and the trial was set to resume on September 14.

Families of the dead and injured along with hundreds of Suez residents staged a sit-in at the El Arbeen district and stayed overnight. They called for justice and refused to return home until the police officers who "killed their children" are arrested again and returned to prison.

The prosecutor appealed the court decision and the case resumed on Wednesday after the justice minister decided to hold it in a Cairo Court instead of Suez for security reasons according to Adel Saeed, the official spokesman of the general prosecutor's office.

Some families of the slain protesters including Aly Al Guinaidy waited anxiously for the verdict at the Tahrir Cafeteria across the street from the Suez Court.

"My 24-year-old son Islam Al Guinaidy was shot on January 28th by the police as he stood in our balcony throwing bottles of water to the protesters fighting the tear gas. He feared for me and pulled me out of the balcony. It could have been me," Al Guindy explained as he sat surrounded by families waiting for any news on the court decision.

A blind man approached the congregation ushered by his friends. "I lost my eyes on the 28th when police officers fired pellets at the protesters. I have received 1000 Egyptian pounds as compensation from the government but I want justice. I spent more money paying for transportation to collect the money, seeing doctors and hire lawyers," Ahmed Gharib explained as he removed his sunglasses.

The news of the court refusing the appeal triggered an instant wave of violence as the men started throwing rocks at the Suez court house and military police standing guard. Two police officers ran for cover as they abandoned their vans when the protesters smashed the windshields.

The violence escalated as the protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at the nearby Suez security headquarters. Most of the windows were smashed and smoke billowed from inside the building briefly before the military police contained the fire. The Army did not intervene but fired warning shots in the air as the families of the protesters and the residents demanded answers.

"We have videos of the officers firing at point blank and we submitted all the evidence to the court. How did they even release the officers before the final appeal was issued? This is against the law?" said Al Guinaidy

"How can they release the officers before the final appeal was issued?"

The sit-in continues as the situation remains tense.

The violence comes two days before the highly-organized July 8 protest called for by the January 25 Coalition. The revolutionaries are call for speedy trials, the end of police brutality and military tribunals, better treatment of the families of the slain protesters and better wages.

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