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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New "Day of Rage" in Egypt

From Al Ahram:

Clashes erupted in front of the Ministry of Interior last night, as well as the Balloon Theatre in Agouza, between the martyrs’ families and police forces. The clashes soon turned violent as police forces assaulted the protestors with tear gas in front of the ministry.

Police forces continued their tear gas salvo in a bid to break the demonstrations up until 7:30 in the morning, when they withdrew from Mohamed Mahmoud Street, where most of last night’s and today’s violence occurred.

Egypt’s ministry of interior had issued an official statement earlier yesterday denying any violence in their crackdown on the demonstration.

Though there are no confirmed reports of any fatalities at this stage, there are dozens injured, including Amr Osama, who was treated in one of the many ambulances made available in Tahrir Square and has now been released.

According to official medical sources, one hospital has 52 injured, 46 of which are police, and another hospital has 8 injured.

It all started Tuesday night, with clashes between families of martyrs and state security forces, some say at the Balloon Theatre. Hundreds of demonstrators also threw stones at the interior ministry of Egypt today in downtown Cairo and accused the police of “killing their sons.”

Security forces cordoned the area and according to eyewitnesses fired tear gas bombs and shots into the air to disperse protesters.

Police chased protesters towards Tahrir square and fired tear gas bombs at thousands of protesters.

A statement released by the interior ministry of Egypt denied that police attacked protesters and claimed they were thugs.

However, Egyptian TV channels Al Hayat and On TV aired live footage of the clashes. Tahrir Square and surrounding downtown streets looked like a battlefield covered with a smoky cloud of tear gas all night through.

Ambulances could be seen rushing into Tahrir Square, as well as volunteer doctors to support the injured in the square.

Thousands of demonstrators rushed in solidarity with protesters in Tahrir Square as violence escalated and chants could be heard "People want the regime to fall," "People want Field Marshal Tantawi out," and "Down with the interior ministry."

The famous, central square, which had witnessed Egypt’s 18-day historic revolution, is currently not open for traffic. Some 2,000 angry demonstrations shouting slogans against the regime, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and brigadier Tantawi himself are in the square. “People want the brigadier to step down,” is the most heard chant in Tahrir Square this morning.
Meanwhile, a prominent Egyptian cleric has declared that the people killed in the Egyptian protests earlier this year are not martyrs.

Sheikh Osman said the rebels were demanding democratic rule and that this is not a religious issue. They were against injustice and deprivation, but that has nothing to do with Islam. "We ask God to forgive them."

This may be the same Sheikh Osman who declared two years ago that Egypt can slaughter millions of pigs to head off a swine flu scare - because all pigs were just Jews cursed by Allah.