Friday,24 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1132, 24 - 30 January 2013
Friday,24 November, 2017
Issue 1132, 24 - 30 January 2013

Ahram Weekly

Police under attack

A police station in the Cairo district of Shobra Al-Kheima came under attack at the weekend after the accidental shooting of a civilian during a police chase, reports Ahmed Morsy

Al-Ahram Weekly

Violent clashes between an angry mob and the police broke out overnight on Sunday in Shobra Al-Kheima, a district in northern Cairo, after an officer accidentally killed a man while chasing a suspected drug dealer.

The officer had reportedly been chasing a drug dealer in Hussein Al-Wakil Street in Shobra Al-Kheima when one of the dealer’s family members fired shots at the police in a bid to set him free.

It was reported that the officer fired his pistol into the air during the battle, resulting in the killing of Mahrous Mohamed, a civilian bystander, with a stray bullet.

A security official told Al-Ahram Weekly that the incident was under investigation and that prosecutors were looking into the case in order to clarify what had taken place.

The clashes then broke out outside Shobra Al-Kheima’s second police station, when approximately 200 of Mohamed’s neighbours and relatives gathered in front of the station in protest, blocking traffic.

Some troublemakers infiltrated the crowds and attacked the police with guns and Molotov cocktails in an attempt to storm the station and free friends and relatives detained inside, the security official said.

During the melee, the police fired tear gas canisters and warning shots to disperse the crowds, and Central Security Forces surrounded the police station to prevent further assaults.

According to a Ministry of Health statement, four of the attackers were killed in the clashes, taking the total number of people dead to five, in addition to 12 others who were wounded, including a police officer, a soldier and a recruit.

The injured police officer sustained multiple injuries while trying to prevent the crowds from storming the police station. The soldier was shot in the back, and the recruit was shot with birdshot in the face.

Six of the troublemakers were detained and found to have criminal records.

Clashes between the police and the public have started to become more common recently after having declined over previous months.

They increased during the uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, and since then the army has often been called in to restore law and order, given the discrediting of the police during the 25 January Revolution.

According to Hani Abdel-Latif, head of the Ministry of Interior’s media office, people are not losing their confidence in the police or feeling more hostile towards them on the second anniversary of the January Revolution.

“I do not think this is the case,” he said, “because in most cases the protests are by peaceful young protesters staging legitimate demonstrations.”

“Criminal elements and rioters sometimes infiltrate these demonstrations, trying to exploit them to carry out acts of sabotage and looting. These troublemakers are not all hired, since crime exists in any society,” Abdel-Latif said.

In the Shobra Al-Kheima incident, a number of troublemakers tried to exploit the situation by storming the offices of the district administration some metres from the police station and looting its contents.

At the same time, another group of rioters went to the traffic department seizures office in Shobra Al-Kheima and tried to steal what they found there. However, they were confronted by police, who arrested one man trying to steal a motorcycle from the store.

The police also arrested a further two rioters looting an ATM machine located in the vicinity of the police station.

“Such acts of riot and sabotage are not always the result of hired thugs, as they often have a purpose, whether to loot or to free detained relatives,” Abdel-Latif added.

“The officer who reportedly killed the civilian will be investigated, as is normal procedure in such cases. Even in police confrontations with criminal elements, police officers are investigated because this is the nature of their job,” he said, adding that the Interior Ministry was there to serve the people and to ensure their safety.

It was for this reason that “we lost 171 martyrs in the year-and-a-half after the revolution,” he said.

In answer to the question of why the police had not spoken about these 171 martyrs, perhaps on Police Day which falls on the anniversary of the revolution, Abdel-Latif said that “the crisis in Egypt must be handled using non-traditional methods. We are not celebrating Police Day this year due to ongoing events and because of the people demanding retribution for those killed in the revolution and the Port Said massacre.”

“We do not want to be accused of ignoring these feelings by celebrating Police Day.” 

On Saturday, the Port Said Court will issue its verdict in the Port Said massacre case.

Seventy-three defendants, including nine officials from the Port Said Security Directorate, are accused of having a hand in the deadly incident that followed a football match between the visiting Ahli football club and the Masri club last February, resulting in 74 deaths, mainly of Ahli fans.

 

 

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