Thursday, November 17, 2011

Violence in Nile port city sparks worry about Egypt military's tactics

DAMIETTA, Egypt — A deadly clash between soldiers and protesters in this Nile Delta city is sharpening concerns that the Egyptian military has decided to confront peaceful protesters with harsh tactics, including live ammunition, in the volatile weeks before parliamentary elections begin Nov. 28.

One person was killed and a dozen injured on Sunday when Egyptian troops armed with assault rifles opened fire on about 50 demonstrators who'd camped overnight to demand that a fertilizer factory stop dumping chemical waste into the waters of this port town.

In the days since, protesters have paralyzed this city's busy port, turning away hundreds of cargo trucks and vowing not to lift the blockade, even though the Egyptian government has said it has suspended the factory's operations while its toxic effects are studied. The protesters also have blocked access to the security forces' barracks nearby.

"We don't trust the government," said Mohamed Eissa, 37, a furniture factory worker who has been protesting for the past week. "It's a temporary shutdown. They never reacted to our demands or cared about our environment and health. They attacked us with live ammunition instead of listening to our complaints."

The protests here are the latest in a string of incidents across Egypt in which security forces appear to have adopted the same harsh tactics that were prevalent during the era of deposed President Hosni Mubarak. That in turn has Egyptian analysts worrying that as voting unfolds, violence will intensify.

"I am very concerned about the state of security during the coming elections," said Ziad Akl, a political researcher at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. "There will be regrettable consequences if the security gap is not contained before elections."

In the past few days alone, clashes between protesters and security forces have erupted in widely disparate parts of Egypt.

In the northern Sinai Peninsula, thousands of residents marched to protest sweeping raids that security forces conducted after the bombing of a natural gas pipeline.

In the southern city of Aswan, protesters outraged by an officer's alleged killing of a sailor torched the local police club and a police station. Several protesters were injured when the security forces used batons and tear gas to disperse the crowd, according to Egyptian news reports.

In Damietta, an industrial city on the Mediterranean coast about 250 miles from Cairo, the protests erupted Nov. 8 after the government licensed the expansion of the MOPCO chemical fertilizer factory.

Protesters complained that the factory's chemical waste had poisoned the waters of the Mediterranean and the Nile River branch that cuts through the city. Farmers said their crops had died, and fishermen lamented that the water had become too contaminated to fish.

The protesters had spent the night outside the factory when troops arrived about 6 a.m. Sunday, witnesses recounted.

When the army opened fire, said Ikarmi Abdel Azim, 33, he and another protester, Islam Amin, ran.

"As soon as we ran into that fruit orchard he screamed and held his abdomen, five steps later he fell there," Azim said, speaking of Amin. "I had to run away. They continued to shoot."

Amin's body was found later in the orchard by his brother, Abdelsalam, who had raced to the scene on his motorbike when he heard that gunfire had broken out. When he and another protester attempted to carry away the body, Egyptian soldiers launched a fresh attack.

"One of them hit me with his rifle butt, and the other kicked me in the face when I fell down," Abdelsalam Amin said, tugging down his shirt to reveal bruises across his chest.

The death of Islam Amin spurred further protests, with demonstrators carrying photocopies of his autopsy report, which said Amin had been "shot by a 7.62 x 39mm live bullet tearing through the abdomen and chest, causing hemorrhage and immediate death."

Damietta's prosecutor general, governor and security officials declined to comment.

Only hours after the bloodshed, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, announced the shutdown of the factory and an investigation into its hazardous effects on the environment. Two days later, interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's office announced "a full suspension to all operations of the fertilizer factory MOPCO until the authorities are through with investigations into the environmental effects of the operation."

None of that was enough for protesters, who vowed to continue demonstrating until the factory was closed. They've already made a dent in the local economy. Port authorities said Tuesday that 22 cargo ships had been stuck at the port for a week, with 30 others arriving and also waiting for an end to the unrest before trade resumes.

Ahmed al Zeini, head of the Damietta Cargo Transport Association, an umbrella group for local transport companies, said losses so far had "reached $3 million due to suspended work in the port."

Dozens of workers also said they'd boycott the elections because none of the candidates has addressed their issues; a few went so far as to threaten attacks on polling stations.

"We haven't seen a single candidate campaigning or talking to us. They only serve the businessmen — no one cares about poor workers like us," said Mohamed Salem, 20.

"No elections will happen here until we see a government that cares about us and candidates that will truly work for our benefit and future," he added. "We won't allow either the opening of the fertilizer factory or elections."

(Sabry is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

Source : McClatchy By Mohannad Sabry

Egyptian Blogger Publishes Her Naked Photos

to be honest the comics come on my priorities I spend to much time watching and commenting on the latest Caricatures published on the newspapers and the magazine

I like their Caricatures , and today I saw their new one It is about the girl who published her naked photos on her own Blog calling this act " Nude Art " , the Caricature is talking about the Egyptians reactions about it.

for me as a Muslim and as an eastern citizen I refuse it , I think that those who are calling with freedom they don't understand the right meaning of the Freedom and Liberty, they think that they can do whatever they want, I think the old quote which say " You are Free in whatever you wanna do if the Liberty doesn't come against the others Liberties " .

I will be more happy when I hear from all of you your opinion about this issue

The Egyptian Parliamentary Election 2011

the upcoming days will be so excited for all the world specifically for the Egyptians, because the first Parliamentary election after Mubarak era will be held in Egypt in the current month November 2011.

this election is so important for all because It comes after the Mubarak era and I think all the Egyptians remember the latest election in 2010 " the counterfeit election " and all the world know that this elections was one of the reasons of Egypt revolution at the beginning of the year 25 Jan.

this election comes after a long transitional phase which was full of problems, the most important problem and I think It's still exist "The Sectarian strife", a lot of accidents like " Attfeh " and " Mary Mina Church in Embaba " and the latest one " Maspero " which happened between the Christians and the Egyptian Armed forces.

this election comes with a lot of fears that It will not succeed because of all the current events, the conflicts between the Egyptian political movements, the Islamic including Salafi Party and Ikhwan Party and the conservative parties and the Liberal parties and those who call themselves " The Egyptian Seculars " and the dangerous side " the National Party Remnants ".

all the Egyptian parties now are trying to attract the Egyptian Citizens to gain their trust, they all know that All the Egyptians now thinking about future and what will happen in the upcoming days, they are looking for improving their financial status.

and all of what I mentioned above is nothing beside the upcoming conflict with the Military Council, the conflict will happen because of The Council behavior and All his members actions, after Tantawi and Sami Anan testimonies in Mubarak Trial when they said that they didn't receive any orders to use the violence in dealing with the protesters which came against what they said in the early time of the revolution. this testimony created a lot of fears in the Egyptian community that The Military Foundation was deceiving from the beginning and a lot of people said " It's just a movie ".

the most optimistic are saying that this election will never succeed because of the bad security situation, thugs and criminals, and all the people are saying that a disaster will happen in the upcoming election.

the election system will be (( two thirds of the parliament will be elected by the closed party lists and the other third will be elected by the individual system, this election system will divide Egypt into 83 counties. ))

To be Continue.

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