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Prosecutor general condemns opposition forces for High Court clashes

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Thirty-eight injured outside the High Court, opposition groups claim police attacked peaceful protest

Egyptian anti government protesters walk through burning cardboards during clashes between the April 6 movement supporters and police outside the High Court on April 6, 2013 in Cairo (AFP Photo)

Egyptian anti government protesters walk through burning cardboards during clashes between the April 6 movement supporters and police outside the High Court on April 6, 2013 in Cairo
(AFP Photo)

The spokesperson for the prosecutor general published a statement on Sunday condemning “attacks witnessed at the High Court” on Saturday night. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Ministry of Interior also expressed similar sentiments on Sunday.

Prosecutor General Tala’at Abdallah’s spokesperson said that the clashes outside the High Court building on Saturday evening “can not in any way be described as a peaceful demonstration and it is a criminal offence punishable by law”. The spokesperson said: “The prosecutor general hails the role of police forces responsible for protecting state institutions.” He also called on the media to be objective and to not confuse “those who destroy property…or terrorise innocent people as revolutionaries or peaceful demonstrators”.

Statements from the FJP and the Interior Ministry both claim that protesters attempted to “storm” the High Court. Mourad Ali, media advisor to the FJP, asserted that political groups have the right to “celebrate the anniversary of its founding” and that opposition groups have the right to protest, adding: “No one, however, has the right to use violence or drag the country in to chaos.”

Ali went on to ask: “What is the secret behind attempts to storm the [High] Court? Is it at all conceivable that the Egyptian people would sympathise or acquiesce to attacks on their court houses and attempts to burn them down?” He also called on people to “stand against these attacks and respond firmly against anyone who calls for the use of violence”.

The Ministry of Interior claimed that some people “tried to break into the main doors of the [High] Court” and protesters used “Molotov cocktails, fireworks and cartouche [birdshot]”, which caused fires inside the court. The ministry claimed that eight members of the security forces were injured during the clashes, three as a result of birdshot.

According to the Ministry of Health 38 people were injured during the clashes outside the High Court building and no deaths have been reported.

Approximately 1,000 people marched to the High Court building on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the 2008 general strike in Mahalla. The 6 April Youth Movement stressed that the day was not a day of celebration but rather one of protest. The marchers chanted against the Muslim Brotherhood, President Mohamed Morsi and Prosecutor General Abdallah.

According to eyewitnesses the clashes began when the police fired teargas at the protest after a group of them were banging on the doors.

A group of demonstrators gathered nearby and continued to protest peacefully; however hundreds were dispersed around the court and some engaged police by using fireworks and rocks. The police responded with teargas and birdshot to deter these people from getting close to the court. Security forces also used armoured vehicles to chase protesters away from the court. The clashes continued until dawn on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Interior.

The 6 April Youth Movement, the Misr A-Qawia Party, the Free Egyptians Party and the Al-Dostour Party youth claim that the police fired upon a peaceful protest. Two members of 6 April were taken to hospital having suffered from asphyxiation by teargas. Misr Al-Qawia reported that three of its members suffered injuries; two by birdshot in the face and one was hit in the face by a teargas canister. Their conditions are now stable, according to the Masr Al-Qawia Party.

About the author

Joel Gulhane

News Reporter

Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane

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