Monday, January 28, 2013

Port Said Funeral Attacked, Enflaming Anger in Egypt

Port Said funeral attacked, enflaming anger

Bel Trew , Sunday 27 Jan 2013
Ahram Online

Sounds of gunshots at the funeral for those slain during police-protester clashes in Port Said fuels anger against Egyptian government

The funeral at Al Mariam Mosque in Port Said was disrupted on Sunday by heavy tear gas shelling reportedly fired from the direction of the nearby army club.

Ten have been injured by either live ammunition or birdshot, according to General Manager of Port Said Hospitals, Abdel Rahman Farah.

The head of the Health Affairs Emergency Unit, Ra'ed Hussein, says Port Said hospitals have so far received 270 injured, mostly suffering from gas suffocation.

Angry rioters torched two clubgrounds for the police and armed forces according to Ahram Arabic website.

Alastair Beach, correspondent for the British daily, The Independent, describes to Ahram Online the tense scene in Port Said. Demonstrators express their anger towards the behaviour of Egypt's security forces during the funeral for the dozens killed in clashes with security forces on Saturday.

"One man told mePort Said is being subjected to a disproportionate level of brutality from security forces following the controversial ruling," Beach says, in reference to the death sentences issued for local Port Said residents that set their family members off in aggressive protests.

Port Said city fumed with rage after 21 of the 73 defendants in the trial of the killing of Ultras Ahlawy fans in February during a football match in Port Said stadium were given the death penalty.

"The doctors I spoke to at Port Said's general hospital said that of the 30 killed [yesterday] 29 had been shot with live ammunition. Protesters then pointed out that Cairo demonstrators were not killed with live rounds, so why are those from Port Said?" Cairo had seen demonstrations on the anniversary of Egypt's revolution on 25 January - just a day before the Port Said verdict was announced.

Families of defendants attempted to storm the prison, leading to clashes between security forces where thirty-two, including two police officers, were killed.

Beach tells Ahram Online that during the funeral one demonstrator burnt an Egyptian flag, while the crowds around him cheered.

Others joked that after the police's heavy-handed tactics Port Said should secede from Egypt to be "saved from the Egyptian government."

Further violence is expected in the Suez Canal city, Beach confirms.

"The situation will get messy. I spoke to one of the demonstrators; a young boy with blood on his jacket after he had been helping carry the dead yesterday. He said 'of course there will be more clashes after the funeral.'"

The Suez governorate has not been spared from violence: eight protesters and another CSF conscript was killed in clashes with police that erupted on the revolution's anniversary.

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