Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Khaled Said - 13th June Protest in Lazoghly

I went to protest to the cold blooded murder of Khaled Said by the Egyptian police in Alexandria and here is my eyewitness report with regards to the protest itself that took place on the 13th June of 2010 in Lazoghly square, Cairo:

(Photo by Sarah Carr)

I saw around 7-10 people getting arrested (they say around 20 overall were arrested), around five of the arrests that I saw were brutal. The people inside the police cordon were relatively unharmed except for a time when they took when they pressed against them forcefully so they couldn't breathe. There was a time when the police loosened the perimeter in order to grab three or four of the protesters from inside the cordon they secured. It was accompanied by wailing from many women and violent punches from plain clothed policemen as they were dragging some of the protestors to the police truck. The protestors and journalists within the perimeter were kept against their will in the perimeter till around 9 pm, from the approximate start time of the protest which was 5.00 pm.

I arrived a little late and was outside the police perimeter set up around various people. The police were in a hurry to disperse the crowd that was chanting and all the onlookers. They were rude and violent and all over the place including many plain clothes informers/policemen. Upon my arrival I was pulled by the shirt and threatened to be arrested and was about to be if the policemen weren't busy dragging two other guys to the police truck, but that's an insignificant event in the scheme of things. I have to make it clear that I hadn’t uttered a word when I had first arrived and that I was addressed with the most impolite names and a very disrespectful manner. I was threatened that I would be ‘taken’, anyone that was in the area would be ‘taken’, the policeman said before starting to drag me.

The two that were dragged upon my arrival happened to be in the area outside the perimeter. The police routinely confiscated cameras, and deleted all videos and images. To the best of my knowledge some cameras were given back and I cannot bear witness to the fate of the cameras. The policemen were all over the buildings and whenever chants would start, they'd give them a few minutes and then charge them.

A few people were injured, one of our friends was taken to a hospital, another person fleeing a charge from the police fell on his head and his face was covered in blood. They put him in a cab with what looked like a security person but I don’t know where he was taken.

There was fear in the air, fear of expressing any opinion in the protest, those officially surrounded had their view blocked by the men in black (amn markazy). For the police themselves it was business as usual, they didn’t care what was chanted, or who they were abusing.

I will post my analysis of the events surrounding this protest shortly.

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