Friday, July 31, 2015

On 1st day of Eid, police kill 6 protesters & injure several others

Mada Masr
Eyewitness accounts emerge from bloody Eid protests in Giza

July 17, 2015

Clashes between police and protesters left at least six dead and three injured in Giza on Friday morning, according to Health Ministry officials.

The violence reportedly broke out after supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi led a number of small marches after the Eid morning prayers.

On Thursday evening, a message allegedly sent by Morsi from prison was published on the Muslim Brotherhood's official website. The statement called on Morsi's supporters to continue the revolution, saying, "My unshakable confidence in victory knows no bounds. Your revolution will be studied by all peoples, so persist to victory, for in it lies the salvation of this homeland."

Health Ministry spokesperson Hossam Abdel Ghaffar told Mada Masr the clashes occurred in the Talbiya district, near the Giza pyramids. Ghaffar said the casualties were sent to hospitals in Konaisa, but did not provide further details.

The privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that four of the deaths occurred in the Talbiya district, while one person was killed in Nahiya and another person in Kerdasa.

The state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram quoted security sources as saying that nearly 300 Muslim Brotherhood supporters gathered in protest in Talbiya on Friday morning. Sources claimed that the protesters fired live ammunition and fireworks at local residents, then opened fire on security forces when they arrived, provoking a gun battle.

Fifteen people were arrested in the incident, according to Al-Ahram.

But the Muslim Brotherhood disputes these claims that demonstrators initiated the violence, writing, “Fascist sec forces attack citizens, including women & children, after Eid prayers killing 6, injuring several,” on its ikhwanweb twitter account.

Ahram also reports that 15 Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested.

Eyewitnesses to another bloody Friday protest in the Giza town of Nahiya have posted photos and testimonies to social media sites supporting the narrative that at least in Nahiya, the police initiated the violence as they dispersed a peaceful demonstration.

According to the Facebook page of photojournalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada, a protest rally demanding the release of political prisoners began after the conclusion of Eid prayers.

Ziada posted a photo of what looks like a non-violent street rally with individuals carrying banners picturing protesters said to be killed by security forces, along with photos of other protesters they described as languishing in prisons.

Under the hashtag “Bloody Eid,” Ziada also posted a photo of a wounded protester he identified Hossam al-Aqabawi, whom the photojournalist claims was shot in the head with a lead bullet.

Another photojournalist, Belal Wagdy, posted photos of a blood-soaked protester being carried away after allegedly being shot by live ammunition. Wagdy updated the post to add that the protester later died of his injuries.

Wagdy claimed that police first opened fire on the protesters with lead bullets, then began shooting birdshot and teargas canisters. Men and women were among the wounded, many suffering from birdshot injuries, he said.

Beyond the figures supplied by the Ministry of Interior and Heath Ministry, who currently state that one person died in Nahiya, there is no definitive tally of the number of dead and injured protesters across Giza on Friday.

Security officials also report that at least one homemade bomb went off outside Cinema Rabudis in Giza on Friday morning, while another was defused, according to local media. No injuries have been reported.

The Protest Law effectively bans non-officially sanctined demonstrations, and grants security forces wide leeway in their methods of dispersing protestors. Although large demonstrations have been rare since the passage of the law in November 2013, Morsi’s supporters and other activists have continued to hold small marches in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities. These demonstrations have frequently been met with deadly force.

*Photo courtesy of Belal Wagdy


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