New group to seek rights of November and December martyrs

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CAIRO: Absence of justice and retribution was the main motive behind forming an association specifically for the families of the martyrs and those injured in the Mohamed Mahmoud and Cabinet clashes, but some were wary of the division in labels.

“There is anger due to the absence of justice and retribution from those who committed these crimes against humanity,” said Abdou Qassem, founder of the Association for the Martyrs and Injured of Mohamed Mahmoud and Cabinet of Ministers.

Qassem was himself injured during these security crackdowns. In November 2011, over 45 were killed, mainly in Cairo, as police cracked down on a protest that was initially spurred by the violent dispersal of a small sit-in. The following month, a days-long crackdown by military and police forces on a sit-in outside Cabinet and in Tahrir left 19 dead. Hundreds were injured.

The association, whose self-proclaimed mission is to call for the rights of those killed and injured, held a press conference Monday to announce its launch.

Activists, martyrs’ families and those injured attended the press conference, which was followed by a march to the People’s Assembly (PA).

“We are demanding from the PA to form a committee to handle the case of the martyrs and injured and get them all their rights, whether legislative or in [medical] treatment,” said Qassem.

Despite the name that limits the association’s work to two incidents of violence, Qassem stressed that they are concerned with all martyrs and those injured, whether during the Jan. 25 uprising or in subsequent clashes and crackdowns.

But some of the attendees, especially the injured, were dismayed with the “discriminatory naming.”

“If the aim of all these coalitions and associations to divide, then they will be useless. However if they are meant to put more effort into the overall cause and giving more power to the demand then it will be beneficial,” said Maher Abdel Rahman, who was injured during the Cabinet clashes.

“I have been injured for my country and speaking out against the oppression. So, the rights I’m asking for are not a matter of treatment expenses — there has been a crime and [more] continue to be committed and those responsible must be penalized,” he explained.

Activist and member of the National Association for Change, Karima El-Hifnawy, said, “The revolution will continue until it accomplishes its goals, and this goes hand in hand with the rights of the martyrs and injured because they sacrificed for the revolution to go on.”

“For them to rest in peace, the goals they died for have to be met. There has to be social justice, a minimum wage, rights for healthcare and housing, free education, no discrimination and dignity. When all of this is accomplished, then we can really say they got their rights,” El-Hifnawy said.

“No state will exist without justice being served,” said Abdel Rahman.


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