Terrorism Observatory in the anniversary of the revolution, the failure of the option of violence

January 27th, 2015 by Editor

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) strongly condemns the acts of terrorism that Egypt has witnessed in the fourth anniversary of the 25th January revolution. EOHR stresses that these acts constitute a violation of the principles of human rights recognized by the Egyptian constitution, and stipulated by international human rights treaties and convention. Among the rights violated were right to life, freedom, personal security and freedom of the movement. EOHR urges the authorities to protect the Egyptian citizen from such acts according to the law and the principles human rights.

 

The Muslim Brotherhood led National Coalition for supporting legitimacy called for protests on the anniversary. In addition to that the popular socialist coalition party organized a demonstration to commemorate the revolution before the 25th of January. The protests overall started on Thursday the 22nd of January, and since the beginning EOHR has observed and documented acts of violence starting with the killing a 16 year old protestor named Sundus Abu Bakr while marching in an anti-regime protest, in Al Asafra district in Alexandria organized by the “anti-coup alliance”. This incident was followed by the murder of Shimaa Al Sabagh, a leading member of the popular socialist coalition party on the evening of the 24th January 2015. The 25th of January witnessed the lion’s share of violence, in several Egyptian governorates. These acts targeted means of transportation, police vehicles and government buildings. Among the places afflicted by these acts of subversion were the Matareya police station, a shootout at a police checkpoint in Juhaina square, the torching of AinShams post office, as well as the torching of Al Haram district building, and attempts to burn electric transformers in several areas.

Shimaa Al Sabagh:

Shimaa Al Sabagh was killed during a demonstration organized by her party on the evening of the 24th of January. The demonstration was peaceful, and the marches carrying roses ad flowers to place on the martyrs of the revolution memorial in Tahrir square. Police responded to the peaceful demonstration with tear gas, and many protestors were detained, as well as several bystanders.

There are several transgressions documented by EOHR concerning the way the police dealt with the peaceful march.

1-      The demonstration was peaceful and the protesters were chanting non offensive slogans demanding social justice, and they were carrying flowers, and Egyptian flags to commemorate the revolution.

2-      Protesters exercised their right to demonstrate as the right to freedom of assembly is guaranteed and by the Egyptian constitution in its 73rd article, the international convention on civil and political rights in its 21st article, and article 20 of the international declaration of human rights. At the same time supporters of president Sisi we holding a march of support near by in the same area and they were not stopped by the police.

 

The Fourth anniversary of the Revolution:

The wave of unrest erupted on the 25th of January 2015, and as a result about 23 people were killed and 97 were injured in clashes between security forces and protestors, which raised the number to 25 since the beginning of the demonstrations on the 22nd of January. Most of the country was largely calm, and did not witness any unrest, but areas that are known to be strongholds of Islamists witnessed riots and violence that killed several people especially in Matareya and Ain Shams districts as they are big strongholds of Morsi supporters.

1-      Cairo:In Matareya and Ain Shams15 people were killed in addition to a police conscript in the clashes between police and protestors. The clashes started when more than a thousand protesters gathered in Matareya and clashed with the police, burning civilian and police vehicles in the process which exacerbated the situation and escalated it into an exchange of gunfire, and protesters surrounded the Matareya police station and attempted to burn it. Ain Shams to witnessed violent clashes, and the interior ministry said that armed gunmen in the area are outsiders and not residents of the neighborhood. Muslim Brotherhood rioters also torched the Ain Shams Telecommunications center. What happened in Matareya was an attempt to recreate the Rabaa Al Adawiya situation by the Brotherhood, but it ultimately failed in doing so. In Alf Maskan neighborhood clashes between police and demonstrators took place, and 4 policemen were wounded when a bomb went off in a car nearby. Security forces also dispersed a pro regime demonstration close to Tahrir square, and the square itself was sealed by military armored personnel carriers. In Juhaina square on the outskirts of Cairo protesters set a police checkpoint on fire, and police forces chased the perpetrators and captured some of them. In Maadi clashes took place between  pro Morsi protesters and police near Al Basatin court, causing a few injuries among the protesters, who were dispersed by police. Police also disarmed 2 bombs in Maadi area, and one of them was close to the ground satellite station. On the ring road in Giza gunmen opened fire opened fire on police checkpoint killing 2 policemen. The police also disarmed a bomb in Nahia, a town near Greater Cairo.

2-      Dakahlia: Dakahlia witnessed several protests than chanted anti-police and anti-army slogans, as they clashed with local residents who oppose their protests. Brotherhood members also tried to set an electric pylon on fire on the Gamalia-Damietta road, but local residents put down the fire before it burned it. Police also disarmed a bomb  in a train station Riyad village.

3-      Alexandria: Alexandria saw more than a few clashes. The interior ministry said that police killed an armed pro Morsi protestor carrying an automatic weapon during a protest in the Awayed area. Also two policemen died in Alexandria, and a tram was set on fire by Pro Morsi protestors.

4-      Beheira:In Beheira 2 people planting a bomb under an electricity Pylon died when the bomb they were planted exploded killing them instantly. The Interior ministry also said that it caught a terrorist cell, whose members blew up several pylons.

 

Throughout the latest unrest about 66 bombs were planted, most of them were disarmed by security forces. On the 26th of January witnessed incidents of violence. Among them the torching of train in Munufiya causing 25 injuries, also police disarmed 2 bombs in the Matareya Cairo. Throughout the past few days of unrest about 29 electric transformers were burned with Sharkeya taking the biggest toll with 16 burned transformers. In Beheira a carpenter was caught, and arrested by police while dissembling the railway tracks between Alexandria and Cairo which stopped the railway movement for sometime. On a separate not about 25 cases of violations committed against Journalists and reporters by security forces were reported, the violations ranged from temporary detention, to beating and causing injury.

 

Based on what has been mentioned, EOHR condemns the harassment of journalists, and calls upon authorities to modify their way of treatment concerning Journalists and to respect the nature of their work. EOHR reaffirms that the constitution guarantees journalistic rights, and the right to publish and document. EOHR also condemns the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrations, and demands that security forces show self restrain when dealing with such protests, preserve the safety of the ordinary citizen, and to respect the regulations stipulated by the protest law when comes to dealing with peaceful protests. EOHR also stresses that subversive acts that the country has witnessed violate human rights, threaten national security, and the stability of the state. Therefor the government should take strong measures to counter terrorism, and confront the state of insecurity that the country is witnessing. From his side Mr. Hafez Abu Seada president of EOHR condemned the acts of violence and demanded the rapid apprehension of the perpetrators of these crimes, because they threaten the right to life, and personal security. He Also added that they should be trailed in front of  normal court, so that the rule of law can be established in accordance with international law. Abu Seada also demanded the release of anyone wrongfully detained in the latest unrest, and also demanded the those who killed Shimaa Al Sabagh be held accountable for their crimes, and implored the government to review and amend the protest law.

Recommendations:

1-      The Prosecution should investigate the murder of Shimaa, and announce the results of these investigations publicly.

2-      The trail of those detained in the latest wave of violence should be normal trails not military ones.

3-      A probe into the harassment of Journalists.

4-      Security forces should be instructed to follow international regulations and standards in dispersing demonstrations and to refrain from using live ammunition unless in extreme exceptional situations stipulated by the law like self-defense.

5-      Measures should be taken to prevent future terrorism

6-      The state should enhance Human Rights and Fight Terrorism.

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