Cairo clashes reach 2nd day, 1,000 hurt

Shanghai Daily - - WORLD -

EGYPTIAN se­cu­rity forces clashed for a sec­ond day in Cairo with hun­dreds of youths de­mand­ing that the coun­try’s mil­i­tary rulers speed up prose­cu­tion of po­lice of­fi­cers ac­cused of bru­tal­ity dur­ing mass protests that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down.

More than 1,000 peo­ple have been in­jured, a se­nior of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

In scenes rem­i­nis­cent of the 18- day up­ris­ing that ousted Mubarak on Fe­bru­ary 11, riot po­lice de­ployed around the In­te­rior Min­istry build­ing and fired in the air or used tear gas as demon­stra­tors threw rocks and fire­bombs. The fight­ing left streets lit­tered with rocks and de­bris and a heavy, white cloud of tear gas hung over the area.

By late after­noon, army troops backed by ar­mored ve­hi­cles took over from riot po­lice who had been pro­tect­ing the In­te­rior Min­istry, clos­ing all roads lead­ing to the com­plex, the of­fi­cial Mid­dle East News Agency re­ported.

The protests at­test to the on­go­ing up­heaval in Egypt nearly five months af­ter Mubarak stepped down. The coun­try is strug­gling with a wors­en­ing eco­nomic cri­sis and a se­cu­rity vac­uum that has led to a surge in crime.

The ques­tion of met­ing out jus­tice to those re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of some 850 pro­test­ers dur­ing the up­ris­ing is among the most di­vi­sive in post-Mubarak Egypt. Many of those who took part in the up­ris­ing ac­cuse the rul­ing mil­i­tary of show­ing too much rev­er­ence to key fig­ures of the old govern­ment and le­nience with se­nior po­lice com­man­ders ac­cused of or­der­ing the killing of pro­test­ers.

As­sis­tant Health Min­is­ter Ab­dul-Hameed Abazah said that of the in­jured, some 900 were treated on the spot and more than 120 went to hos­pi­tals.

Most of the in­jured suf­fered from gas in­hala­tion or con­cus­sions, of­fi­cials said. At least 18 cars and 11 stores were dam­aged.

Am­bu­lances fer­ried the wounded to hos­pi­tals, and vol­un­teer doc­tors and nurses treated others on side­walks.

The mil­i­tary is­sued a state­ment on its Face­book page claim­ing the clashes were de­signed to “desta­bi­lize the coun­try” and drive a wedge be­tween the groups be­hind the up­ris­ing and the se­cu­rity forces.

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