by Bishoy Ramzy, Yosry Mohamed, Arabstoday, Friday, 25 January 2013
Five people were killed in the Egyptian canal city of Suez on Friday, as protesters clashed with police and mass rallies shook Egypt on the second anniversary of the revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak and brought Islamists to power.Doctors at the Suez Hospital told AFP five people were shot in the chest and stomach with live bullets. It was not immediately clear whether the dead were civilians or police.
The health ministry said 379 people were injured in clashes in nine provinces.
A large number of Egyptians rallied in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, demanding an overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood rule and President Mohammed Morsi.
In Cairo, 15 different marches including members from 36 political parties congregated in Tahrir Square. Founder of Dostour Party Mohamed ElBaradei and leader of the Dignity Party Hamdeen Sabahi participated in the march which started from Mustafa Mahmoud Square.
The Egyptian protesters repeated chants first heard on January 25 two years ago, which culminated in the overthrow of ex-President Mubarak. They said “the people want to overthrow the regime,” and “down with the guide’s rule.”
There were violent clashes between protesters and security officials outside Egypt’s Interior Ministry, as demonstrators threw stones at security forces and they retaliated with tear gas. The security authorities intensified their presence in front of Maspero building, home of governmental television and radio, to ward off any attack.
Although the demonstrators called for President Morsi to be overthrown, opposition figures said their protest was against the recently approved constitution. They warned the government of repercussions if their demands were ignored, adding that “the revolution has not ended.”
Dostour Party official Hossam Issa said that a large number of people who participated in the demonstration joined the protest to bring the revolution back to Egypt. He added that the young people have the right to pressure the government into responding to their demands.
Friday’s demonstrations saw the emergence of the “Black Bloc” group in a number of Egyptian governorates. The masked members dressed themselves in black and took part in protests across the country, saying they want to protect the demonstrators. They also blocked roads and prevented Egyptians trains from running on time. A large number of Black Bloc members also tried to storm the residence of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Zagazig. However, security forces thwarted their attempts by using tear gas to disperse them.
The demonstrations also saw a number arson attacks on key institutions, including Cairo’s railway station, Suez governorate head office, US embassy car park in Cairo, and several Muslim Brotherhood headquarters. The fires raised fears that violence could increase in the next few days, in light of Egypt’s highest court set to rule on the Port Said Stadium disaster case on Saturday, and violence threats from al-Ahly ultras if the court does not “provide justice.”
In Port Said, there were several attempts to storm prisons, with security forces using tear gas to disperse protesters and secure the buildings.
In Ismailia, demonstrators stormed the police station after throwing stones at security personnel. They also tore down banners of the ruling Freedom and Justice Party, and stopped trains from leaving the railway station on time. There were three marches that rallied towards al-Shohadaa Square. The demonstrators chanted for the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi.
Security sources told Arabstoday that they took the necessary security measures to protect the public institutions such as the police stations and main headquarters of Suez Canal. They confirmed that Suez Canal is completely secure, adding that they are not sure whether demonstrators intend to demonstrate in the area of Suez Canal. The source added that the protests did not affect the navigation traffic and ship movement was “normal.”
In Port Said, the Stadium massacre last February dominated the atmosphere during the rallies, as families of the defendants called on authorities not to transfer their loved ones from Port Said’s prison, fearing for their lives. Port Said’s security director said that he has not made a decision on the transfer of prisoners from Port Said to Cairo. Security forces intensified their presence around the prison and the public institutions, as a number of demonstrators stormed the tourist port on Thursday.
Political forces in South Sinai rallied to protest against the ruling regime on Friday. They issued a statement calling on the Egyptian authorities to achieve retribution for the martyrs of Egypt’s revolution. They stressed the need for withdrawing the elections law from Egypt’s Constitutional Court, amending the constitution, excluding the public prosecutor, ensuring judicial independence, and cancelling the military trials for civilians.
On the other hand, South Sinai’s resorts received a number of Israeli tourists despite the current demonstrations in a number of governorates. Officials figures revealed that tourist occupancy increased by 30 percent. Security forces intensified their presence to protect facilities and institutions.
Live Updates 1: Protests, clashes all over the country on revolution’s anniversary
Ahram Online, Friday Jan 25, 2013
18:20 “Today’s protest is a proof of the revolution’s success,” deputy head of the FJP Essam El-Erian tells Al-Ahram Arabic. “Egypt was able to win its right to peaceful protest.”
Key Brotherhood figure El-Erian also states that the only way of resolving the current dispute is through dialogue or through the ballot box.
There still seem to be a significant number of protests and demonstrations taking place around the country. Aswat Masriy reports that hundreds have stormed the Kafr El-Sheikh governorate headquarters, and did not face any interference from security forces.
Al-Ahram Arabic reports that a number of masked Black Bloc youth have blocked off the main street leading to President Mohamed Morsi’s house in his hometown of Zagazig, also without facing any interference from security forces present at the scene.
The “Black Bloc” seem to be drawing on lessons from European “Black Bloc” protesters in Germany in the 1970s, and at anti-globalisation protests in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Black Bloc groups usually wear face-concealing items during their protests, and sometimes resort to violence to achieve their goals.