News / Middle East

Egypt Military: Crackdown on Protesters Justified

Egyptians carry the body of a protester killed during recent clashes in Tahrir Square, Cairo, December 19, 2011
Egyptians carry the body of a protester killed during recent clashes in Tahrir Square, Cairo, December 19, 2011

A spokesman for Egypt's ruling military told journalists Monday the use of force against protesters was justified, insisting that many were attacking or provoking soldiers, or destroying government property. Fourteen people were killed and more than 300 wounded during the last four days of violence in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The latest actions against protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square before dawn left many mostly young protesters angry and bitter. However, elsewhere in Cairo and across the country, the moves drew applause from some businessmen and ordinary citizens who say that recent protests were paralyzing the economy.

Witnesses said military police swept through the square around 4 a.m. Monday, firing what sounded like percussion bombs. Other witnesses say police beat protesters who were staying overnight at a mosque bordering the square. Several tents were reportedly burned.

General Adel Amara, a spokesman for Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, defended the actions. He accused protesters of “provoking” soldiers and “destroying government property.” He went a step further, claiming they were trying to destroy the state.

"The protesters are misusing their freedom to create chaos and trying to bring down the entire state, rather than the regime [of former President Hosni Mubarak], which has already fallen. " Amara said.

He insisted that "the nation, is in danger, and the army, which has shown great patience, is under severe pressure."

General Amara said soldiers are “trained to be courageous,” but complained that protesters were “continually harassing them,” hitting them with everything from “knives, to rocks, fire bombs and butagaz [cooking gas] cannisters.”  Protests, he claimed, are no longer peaceful:

"How can the protests be peaceful if the protesters are physically preventing the prime minister from entering his offices? Amara asked. "Soldiers who are guarding those offices, as well as the parliament, continue to be taunted by protesters on a daily basis."

The army recently installed cement blocks and barbed wire to prevent protesters from getting too close to parliament or the prime minister's headquarters. Al Arabiya TV showed protesters hurling stones at police guarding the building,  

At least 14 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in the latest violence, which began Friday when military police broke up a sit-in in front of both parliament and the prime minister's office, and chased protesters from Tahrir Square. An historic library was gutted during the violence.

The army crackdown brought condemnation from many foreign capitals, amid video of police beating protesters and at least several using weapons against them. Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, however, denied that security forces fired live ammunition at protesters.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs