Suez protesters demand prosecution of Mubarak, former officials

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CAIRO: Thousands of Suez citizens protested Friday afternoon on El-Arbeen Street, site of the first man shot dead by police on January 25, demanding that authorities prosecute ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters gathering outside the city’s two main mosques following Friday prayers demanding the indictment of top officials charged with corruption as well as the execution of police officers accused of shooting protesters in the early days of an 18-day popular revolt that toppled the regime.

“How come Mubarak and his family were neither interrogated nor prosecuted until now,” one protester told Daily News Egypt.

“Even the officers arrested on charges of killing protesters are now enjoying special treatment inside the police directorate…and we saw them being transferred in civilian cars to the prosecution office,” the protester added.

Demonstrators marched to the municipality building on El-Geish Street, another main street in Suez, chanting against Mohamed Hussein Tantawy, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud. They then went back to continue protesting in El-Arbeen.

“We want our rights…our money…our blood,” demonstrators chanted.

“You [the army] kept us busy with the constitution and did not prosecute Fathi Sorour and Zakaria Azmy,” they said.

“People could sense a state of procrastination…in prosecuting Mubarak and former top officials, believing that Tantawy, Mahmoud and others belong to the former regime,” head of Al-Ghad Party in Suez Talaat Khalil told DNE.

Earlier last week, the chief of the police directorate and three officers in Suez were referred to a criminal court over charges of opening fire at protesters. They are currently being held in custody pending trial on April 17.

In response, dozens of officers protested outside the attorney general’s office demanding the release of their colleagues, 48 of them collectively resigned objecting to their prosecution.

The officers’ protest was followed by another by citizens calling on the governor to accept their resignation.

Suez witnessed the most intense clashes when the January 25 Revolution broke out as protesters demanded civil rights and an end to the Mubarak regime.

“A total of 88 people were killed during protests, while over 1,000 others were injured, many seriously, though official reports said only 29 were killed,” a medical source told DNE on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, before Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, hospitals were ordered by the health ministry and government officials to reject any admission of patients with bullet injuries.

“At some point many were treated on the streets of Suez,” the source said.

On Jan. 28, dubbed the “Friday of Anger,” protesters in the city stripped the police directorate chief and his deputy naked on the street in a bid to humiliate them.

Former Interior Minister Habib El-Adly will face the first trial hearing on April 24 before a criminal court on charges of premeditated murder of protesters, attempted murder of others as well as inflicting major damages to public and private property which had a negative impact on the economy.

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