•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle

Thousands fight police in Tahrir Square

Published Jul 11, 2011 9:51 PM

Thousands of angry Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo and Alexandria at the end of June, battling the Central Security forces for hours before successfully pushing the riot police back. These were the most intense clashes in five months, since Egypt’s 18-day revolution in January that ousted U.S.-client Hosni Mubarak.

The clashes saw the reappearance of the Central Security forces, who descended upon the demonstrators en masse, blanketing the crowd with tear gas and shooting rubber bullets at protesters, including the families of those martyred during the revolution.

This police riot came exactly five months after the Jan. 28 victory of Egyptian students and workers who fought the cops throughout the country and won. They sent the regime’s thugs running back to their enclaves and even burnt down police stations.

In what some are calling a new stage of the struggle, Egypt’s current ruling military council has shown itself to be the same repressive, brutal and unaccountable force as the old Mubarak regime.

At issue for the people is the military government’s failure to implement demands made in the mass national demonstrations of January and February. Specifically, people are enraged at the government’s refusal to bring to justice the police responsible for the murder of demonstrators and its repeated postponement of the trials of key figures in the former Mubarak regime.

Some former government ministers have been found guilty of corruption, but the trials of the two men many hold responsible for the police killing of unarmed demonstrators — Mubarak himself and the much despised former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly, who was in charge of the police — have yet to take place. On June 26, el-Adly’s trial was postponed for a second time. Families of the martyrs of the revolution weren’t even allowed in the courtroom.

The June 30 trial of two Egyptian police charged with the death of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old man beaten to death in Alexandria last year, was also postponed. Said died in June 2010, after being dragged out of an internet café by plain-clothes police and assaulted in the street. Facebook pages set up to tell Said’s story were used to coordinate Day of Rage protests on the streets of Cairo on Jan. 25, beginning the struggle that ousted Mubarak.

Meanwhile, police accused of killing demonstrators continue in their posts, and families of the victims report these cops are using their clout to try to bribe or threaten them to drop their legal cases.

Families of martyrs attacked by police

The June 28 pitched battle in Cairo began when police blocked some families of martyrs of the revolution from attending a meeting commemorating those killed. They were attacked and arrested, causing angry protesters to gather at the Interior Ministry, which controls the police. Later thousands flooded Tahrir Square in solidarity. Protesters defended themselves against the police as they had done in the past — by breaking up the sidewalks in the square and pelting attacking police with pieces of concrete.

Thousands again took these issues to Tahrir Square on Friday, July 2, building roadblocks and setting up a tent city where some planned to stay until their demands were met. They want justice for the more than 850 people killed and the estimated 6,000 to 11,000 wounded during the revolution.

The street battle continued on July 3, according to demonstrators, after the tent city was attacked and set on fire by a group that contained police agents. As the struggle in Egypt continues, the next major demonstration in Tahrir Square has been called for July 8.