Riots erupt in Egypt after court releases policemen

Hundreds of Egyptians attacked a courtroom in Cairo today, scuffled with security guards, and blocked a major highway for hours after the court ordered the release of 10 policemen charged with killing protesters during the country’s uprising.

The unrest added to tensions already running high in Egypt over the ruling military council’s failure to hold accountable security forces involved in killing protesters during the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. Nearly five months later, only one policeman has been convicted in the deaths of more than 846 people killed in a government crackdown on protesters. He was tried in absentia.

After the riots broke out, Egypt’s Prosecutor-General Mahmoud Abdel-Meguid ordered the court’s decision overturned in a clear attempt to defuse anger. However, a lawyer for the victims’ families said that such a decision is “illegal” because the prosecutor general has no authority over the court.

“They are trying to deceive the people to pacify them,” said the lawyer Amin Ramez. “The policemen are now at army headquarters seeking protection. If people saw them, they would tear them apart,” Ramez added.

Ali el-Ganadi, father of one of the victims, said he received a promise from the prosecutor-general to enforce the annulment of the court’s order and bring the officers back to jail.

Relatives of slain protesters, who were involved in the unrest, cut traffic for at least six hours on the highway from Cairo to the city of Suez, leaving hundreds of cars lined up. The court case involved protesters killed in Suez.

Mr. Ramez spoke to The Associated Press by phone from the Cairo-Suez road, about 60 miles outside of Cairo. He said that truck drivers and Suez residents poured in and joined the protesters. Military officers negotiated with the protesters.

Later, a couple hours after nightfall, El-Ganadi, the spokesman for Suez victims’ families, said the protesters were opening the road to Suez.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 3:21:26 PM |

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