CAIRO (BNO NEWS) — Egyptian military police forcefully broke up a gathering held in downtown Cairo to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Al-Ahram state-owned newspaper reported on Saturday.
Tens of people on Friday responded to an open invitation to have an iftar, the evening meal that breaks the daytime fast during Ramadan, in Tahrir Square with no intention to stage a sit-in or to protest. However, they were forced to move the celebration in front of the Omar Makram Mosque since security forces have been heavily present in the square.
“We took our food and headed towards Omar Makram after security personnel prevented us from staying in the square. We had our breakfast and everything was normal for a while,” Activist Salma Said told Tahrir TV.
She said that the military police then forced people out after they started chanting some pro-revolution slogans. “But the military police beat us up viciously; I was even kicked in the back in the process. An 11-year-old kid and his sister were beaten too. They were merciless. Another girl were beaten badly and her veil was taken off,” Said added.
Said deplored the “unnecessary use of force”, saying protesters will once again stage a sit-in that will last until the revolution’s as yet unmet demands are fulfilled, according to the newspaper.
Last Monday, hundreds of military police and central security forces stormed Tahrir square to end a three-week old sit-in, beating and arresting hundreds of people.
Several small groups refused to leave the square after 26 major political groups decided on Sunday to halt their sit-in during Ramadan. The sit-in was launched on July 8 to protest that the demands of the revolution have not been met.
Among the protesters’ demands are the immediate release of all civilians who have been sentenced by military courts and their retrial before civilian courts. They are also asking for the prosecution of those implicated in the killing of protesters during the January 25 Revolution.
According to Amnesty International, at least 840 people were killed and over 6,000 people were injured in the violent repression that took place during the January uprising.
Ousted President Hosni Mubarak, who ruled Egypt in a 30-year-long regime, stepped down after the uprising. He appeared in court on August 3 facing charges of ordering the killing of peaceful protesters during the uprising.
Former Interior Minister Habib Ibrahim al-Adly and six other former senior officials also face charges over the deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters. If convicted, they face possible death sentences.
The trial of Mubarak and his sons, Alaa and Gamal, will resume on August 15.