Rights group carpets Egypt over revolt anniversary bloodshed
HUMAN Rights Watch on Monday accused Egyptian police of using “excessive force” against protesters after 20 people were killed in clashes on the fourth anniversary of its 2011 uprising.
The clashes between protesters and security forces in Cairo and the coastal city of Alexandria on Sunday came after Islamists called for demonstrations against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government.
At least 19 protesters, mostly Islamist supporters of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president who was ousted by then army chief Sisi in July 2013, and a policeman were killed, a health ministry official said.
The Cairo violence accounted for all but one death, that of a demonstrator in Alexandria.
Late Sunday, officials had put the death toll at 15, including the policeman who was shot dead during clashes in a northern Cairo district.
“Four years after Egypt’s revolution, police are still killing protesters on a regular basis,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director of Human Right Watch.
The New York-based HRW called for “an independent investigation into the authorities’ excessive use of force” to quell “apparently peaceful protests”.
Tensions had surged ahead of the anniversary, and a female demonstrator was killed in clashes with police during a rare leftwing protest in Cairo on Saturday.
Shaima al-Sabbagh died of birdshot wounds when police fired to disperse a march, fellow protesters and HRW said.
An 18-year-old female protester was also killed on Friday in clashes in Alexandria.
Egypt has been gripped by political turmoil since the 2011 uprising which toppled longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak and by violent unrest since his successor Morsi was ousted.