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

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

Ninety percent of homes in one small village were damaged or destroyed as government forces failed to stop a rebel advance More

Pakistan’s 'Last Self-Declared Jew' Attacked, Detained

Argument about the rights of non-Muslims in Pakistan allegedly results in mob beating well-known Jewish Pakistani More

Turkey Cracks Down on Political Dissent, Again

People daring to engage in political dissent ahead of upcoming general elections could find themselves in jail 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.
In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobanii
X
Mahmoud Bali
March 06, 2015 8:43 PM
Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Their Own Words: Citizens of Kobani

Civilians are slowly returning to Kobani, after Kurdish fighters backed by coalition airstrikes fought off a four-month siege of the northern Syrian town by Islamic State militants. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Mahmoud Bali talked to some of those who have returned. We hear about the devastation of Kobani through their own words.
Video

Video In Ukraine's Nikishino, No House Untouched by Fighting

In the village of Nikishino, in eastern Ukraine, recent fighting has brought utter devastation. Ninety percent of the houses are damaged or destroyed after government forces tried and failed to stop rebels advancing on the strategically important town of Debaltseve nearby. Patrick Wells reports for VOA from Nikishino.
Video

Video Crime Scenes Re-Created in 3-D Visualization

Police and prosecutors sometimes resort to re-creations of crime scenes in order to better understand the interaction of all participants in complicated cases. A Swiss institute says advanced virtual reality technology can be used for quality re-creations of events at the moment of the crime. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More