Clashes in the Abu Qurqas village of Minya on Monday resulted in the death of a civilian and several injuries, including that of a police sergeant. The Ministry of Interior published a statement on Monday evening saying people were attacked the Abu Qurqas Police Station in an attempt to free several detainees held there.
The ministry said people gathered near the station, threw bricks and stones and fired bullets in an attempt to recover the detained. The ministry also said it managed to disperse the demonstration and arrest several people allegedly involved.
Bishoy Hani, a student who was present at the clashes, said the fight began when local utilities police officers were checking stores in the area for licences. “The police are meant to check stores for proper operating licences,” Bishoy said. “The fight began when the police checked a store that did not have a licence.”
According to Bishoy an employee of the store in question began verbally assaulting an officer who proceeded to hit the employee. “The employee insulted an officer, who then punched him and the fight escalated from there,” Bishoy said, adding there were between 200 and 300 people who were eventually involved in the fighting.
A 17-year-old passer-by was also hit by the police, Bishoy said.
Bishoy criticised the ministry’s accusation that the people present were armed and using live ammunition. “We did not have any weapons with us because if we did we would have hit back and beaten the police badly,” he said. “The evidence is in the statistics; there were 12 injuries on our side and the police only had two.”
Bishoy added that those present in Monday’s clashes would hold a sit-in on Tuesday if enough people show up.