25 Jan 2014

Egypt revolt anniversary: twelve people killed

Twelve people are killed in Cairo, security sources say, as Egypt marks the third anniversary of the revolution that led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

Security has been tight in Tahrir Square, the site of massive protests in 2011, but elsewhere security forces have used teargas and fired live rounds into the air to disperse protesters angry at the military interim government of General al-Sisi.

Security sources said on Saturday that 12 people had been killed in clashes in Cairo. The sources gave no further details.

As police tried to calm tensions on the streets, a bomb exploded near a police camp in the Egyptian city of Suez, security sources said. The explosion was reported to have been followed by a long exhange of gunfire.

Long queues have been reported outside Tahrir square as the military carefully checks all people entering the square. Inside the square people are generally protesting against the Muslim Brotherhood and in favour of the military, which now runs the country.

Supports of General al-Sisi (picture: Getty)

Outside the square there have been protests against the interim military government and its de facto leader General al-Sisi.

Egyptian police fired live rounds into the air to disperse a crowd of around 1,000 protesters who were marching towards Tahrir Square. A witness said teargas was also used.

A man injured in clashes between anti-government protesters and supporters of the military government (picture: Getty)

Tensions are running high in Egypt, a country that has seen massive political upheaval in recent years –beginning with the ousting of Mubarak, followed by the temporary presidency of Mohammed Morsi backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and most recently concluding with the military interim government of General al-Sisi following a military coup.

On Saturday morning a bomb exploded near to the police training institute in eastern Cairo, though nobody was hurt. On Friday four bombs killed six people and injured many more, with a militant Islamist group claiming responsibility.

‘Arrest’ tweeted

However, tensions also remain inside the square, as shown by tweets from a journalist who reported that she was being arrested.

Nadine Marroushi, a freelance journalist who has worked for The Economist, the Independent and the Financial Times, began tweeting at midday.

Her first tweet said that she was “being arrested” in Tahrir Square, alongside The Daily News Egypt reporter Basil el-Dabh. Her second tweet simply read “please help”.

Mr el-Dabh also reported that he and Ms Marroushi were “swarmed by an angry mob” and that police took them into a nearby building.

He said police had been “cooperative so far” and that he was more concerned “about the angry mob outside”.

An hour after the incident began, Ms Marroushi tweeted that the pair were “out” and were heading home, having been escorted out of the square by police.

Mr el-Dabh said the situation “could have been much worse”, and thanked people for their help and concern.

Fears over the safety of journalists in Egypt were in the spotlight at the start of the year, as three al-Jazeera journalists were detained.