Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Live updates: Smoke as antidote to tear gas in the square

8:10 pm: The Free Egyptians Party issues a statement asking the military to stop violence against protesters. It also demands the swift transfer of power to a national salvation government.
The party demanded a stop to the use of toxic gas against protesters and the prosecution of those responsible for killing and injuring them.
It also demanded the realization of the revolution's demands, including the release of political detainees and the end of military trials for civilians.

8:05 pm: Witnesses in the square report that the smoke created by small bonfires, scattered throughout Tahrir Square, are helping to offset effects of lingering tear gas.

7:30 pm: A Tahrir doctor is reported to have died from tear gas used against demonstrators.
Eyewitnesses say the police shot teargas directly at the field hospital on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, causing the doctor, Rania Fouad, to faint and enter a coma. They also say the police forbade her colleagues from moving her away from the scene.

7:15 pm: On Mohamed Mahmoud Street, military sets up barbed wire  in front of central security forces.
7:10 pm: The Popular Socialist Alliance Party issued a statement in which it blasted Field Marshal Tantawi’s speech Tuesday night, and demanded the ruling military council give up power to a powerful and trusted national salvation government headed by presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei.
The party denounces what it calls lies of the military council, which claims it hasn’t shot protesters with live ammunition or spread false accusations.
The party asserts that it firmly supports the popular uprising and rejects negotiations or dialogue with the military. It also says that it has continued to suspend all electoral campaigning until the bloodshed ends and those responsible for it are held accountable.

5:50 pm: Clashes renew at Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

4:30 pm: The military's hands are tainted with protesters' blood, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch.
The report urged Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to immediately order riot police to stop the use of "excessive force" against protesters and to reduce their troops around Tahrir Square "to a level that allows for the maintenance of security while permitting free assembly."
The organization accused both riot police and military personnel of shooting live ammunition and rubber bullets at demonstrators and beating them up.
The press release quoted Sarah Leah Whitson, the organization's Middle East director, as saying: “With parliamentary elections a week away, the military rulers are facing a serious crisis of confidence because of their management of the transition... It has not yet learned the most basic lesson of the January uprising: that Egyptians have and know they have a right to peaceful protest, which repressing a demonstration with brute force cannot take away.”
The organization demanded that the office of the public prosecutor conduct "a transparent investigation" into the use of "lethal force" and the involvement of military personnel in the brutalities.

4:20 pm: The official death toll of the clashes around Egypt has risen to 35, the Health Ministry said. There have been 31 deaths in Cairo, two in Alexandria, one in Ismailia and one in Marsa Matruh.

4:15 pm: Five Egyptian human rights groups have issued a statement declaring their intention to prosecute General Hamdy Badeen, head of the military police; General Hassan al-Roweiny, commander of the central military district; and Interior Minister Mansour al-Essawy, among other senior security officials, for the killing and injuring of protesters in clashes that started Saturday in many governorates around Egypt.
The signatories said that the actions of the police and military forces in the last four days constitute “criminal offenses," which they said have led to 40 deaths and 2000 injuries. They warn that if the Egyptian judicial system fails to bring those responsible to justice, its members will be prosecuted in international courts.
To counter what they call false claims by the military that it hasn’t engaged with protesters, the organizations started gathering evidence of the use of excessive force by military forces with intent to cause death or serious injury since the beginning of the clashes.
The statement is signed by the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights, the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and Al-Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence.

4:10 pm: Clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street stopped after police forces retreated. The army is now securing the area around the Interior Ministry.

4:00 pm: Protesters have built three levels of barricades from the debris along Mohamed Mahmoud Street to protect the square from any potential attack that might happen, as well as to prevent people from advancing and to stay inside the confines of the square. People are chanting, "The people demand the revolution inside the square."
Army officers are still present along the streets leading to the Interior Ministry.

3:15 pm: An Al-Azhar imam from the group that went to negotiate with the army, Ismail Mohamady, has said the two sides agreed they will stay in the square and no side will attack the other.
Fekry Mohamed, a 29-year-old protester, said that one Central Security Forces officer waved the victory sign, took off his helmet and threw down his weapon. He and some other protesters raised him up on their shoulders and started chanting "peaceful," and the security forces withdrew.
"This is a victory for us, we are peaceful protesters and we will now stay inside the square until we topple SCAF," Mohamed said.
Protester Amal Hamada, 43, said: "We will not leave Tahrir until our demands are met: stopping military trials for civilians, the handover of power to a civilian authority, and trying all the criminals from police who murdered protesters. We put the blame on Tantawi for every drop of blood that was shed."

2:55 pm: Police forces have retreated from Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

2:30 pm: A number of Al-Azhar imams have organized a group of people to negotiate a truce with the army forces, which have recently appeared on the side streets around Tahrir Square.

2:15 pm: A fire has broken out at the American University in Cairo (AUC) main campus in downtown Cairo, an Al-Masry Al-Youm correspondent says. The building is on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, where most of the heaviest fighting is.

2:20 pm: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issues a new statement on its official Facebook page, denying using any tear gas canisters against protesters in Tahrir Square or anywhere else. The statement stressed that the armed forces won’t use weapons of any kind against the Egyptian people. The SCAF demanded youth not to follow rumors.

1:50 pm: Harassment of journalists appears to be on the rise. Al-Masry Al-Youm journalist Nadine Marroushi was detained by police officers, who questioned her about her purpose in the square. They released her but kept her cell phone and press ID card. Earlier in the day, Ola Galal, a reporter for Bloomberg, was arrested while taking pictures behind the police lines. An officer cursed at her and threatened to delete her photos. She was then released.

11:00 pm: Fighting continues between protesters and police on Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

Earlier in the day
Increasing numbers of protesters began swarming into Tahrir early Wednesday morning after continuing clashes between security authorities and protesters near the Interior Ministry in downtown Cairo.
Eyewitnesses said security forces continue to fire tear gas. They said field hospitals in Tahrir are receiving dozens of injured people, most of whom suffer from convulsions, apparently from tear gas, and varying cuts from stone-throwing.
Meanwhile, more than 150 school students organized a march from Haram, in southern Cairo to Tahrir to express support for the protesters.
The students, marching from Giza square to Tahrir, chanted "The people want to bring down the regime" and "Down with military rule" in rejection of the use of violence against protesters.
The Ahmed Maher Front of the April 6 Youth Movement announced in a statement on Tuesday that it will continue its sit-in in Tahrir and other governorates until its four demands are achieved.
The movement called for setting a date for the presidential election so that it is held before the end of April, transferring power to a civilian presidential council, forming a national salvation government with full powers independent from the SCAF, and launching immediate investigations into the clashes in Tahrir.
The movement criticized Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi's speech, in which he pledged to conduct presidential elections before the end of June.
Meanwhile, field doctors in Tahrir called on citizens to supply them with medications, saying their supplies are quickly running out.
On Twitter, doctors sent out cries for help to urge other doctors to head to Tahrir immediately, saying several protesters are dying from gunfire.

Source : Al Masry Al Youm


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