CAIRO: An Egyptian NGO yesterday condemned the “many lies and misinformation in a Ministry of Interior statement on the demonstration violently broken up by the police on Tuesday.
“The Egyptian interior ministry’s statement contains many lies and misinformation in order to cover up the shameful crimes committed by security forces against unarmed civilians who only marched out to express their refusal of the renewal of the state of emergency in force for 29 years, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information said in a statement issued Thursday.
The interior ministry said in the statement that “all the security measures taken [during the demonstration] were taken after repeated warnings about a ban on congregating on public roads.
Around 60 protestors gathered in front of Cairo’s Shoura Council on Tuesday, demanding an end to the state of emergency and calling for political reform, in a demonstration organized by the April 6 Youth Movement.
The ministry statement says that the police officers refrained from using crowd dispersal methods available to them but were forced to do so “when a crowd assembled and threw stones at security forces, determined to demonstrate throughout the streets of the capital.
Ten police officers and bystanders were injured as a result of the stone-throwing, the ministry alleges.
ANHRI points out that there was in fact no stone-throwing because the demonstration took place on Cairo’s main thoroughfare of Qasr El-Eini Street, where “no stones or hard objects are found.
The NGO also rejects claims that security forces moved in on demonstrators after several warnings, saying “the [interior ministry] gave no time or opportunity for people to assemble and get organized in the first place.
“Thirty-three individuals responsible for these acts were arrested, while others were briefly held before being released because they were minors, the ministry says.
The Front for the Defense of Egypt’s Protestors says that a total of 106 people were arrested during the demonstration. ANHRI says that three of the detainees, Abdel-Rahman Fares, Ahmed Naguib and Shehab Waguih are still being held despite the public prosecution office ordering their release on Wednesday.
The three were subsequently released later Thursday afternoon, according to the Front for the Defense of Egypt s Protestors.
The Forum for Independent Human Rights Organizations, a coalition of 13 Egyptian NGOs, meanwhile said on Thursday that the security forces’ violence on Tuesday is a precursor to an “increase in repression in the coming months aimed at protecting the grip on power of the ruling party and its prominent members ahead of the 2010 and 2011 elections.