Top News: Clashes Enter Fifth Day in Kafr al-Sheikh; 25 Injured

Feb 2 Protests DNE.jpg

Follow live updates from the anti-Morsi rally on Ahram Online.

Clashes between protesters and police in Kafr al-Sheikh reignited for the fifth consecutive day on Thursday night, lasting until the early hours of Friday morning. At least 25 demonstrators were reported injured from tear gas fired by security forces.


Popular Current member found in hospital, critically injured; party accuses police of torture
Popular Current member Mohamed al-Gendy, who disappeared near Tahrir Square on 28 January 2013, has been found in a hospital in serious condition. The party — founded by former presidential candidate and National Salvation Front leader Hamdeen Sabbahi —  issued a statement on Thursday saying Gendy had been found at al-Helal al-Ahmar Hospital in the Ramses district. He reportedly was in the intensive care unit and was in serious condition following a violent assault. [Egypt Independent, 2/1/2013]

Salafi Dawah defends meeting with opposition
Salafi Dawah vice president Yasser Borhamy slammed Islamist forces who criticized the Nour Party for meeting with the liberal National Salvation Front (NSF) to discuss a solution to the ongoing violence. “Why didn’t they criticize President Mohamed Morsi and [Salafi preachers] Mohamed Hassan and Mohamed Hussein Yacoub when they met with the front?” Borhamy retorted. The NSF rejected Morsi’s invitation to participate in a national dialogue earlier this week, but Front leader Mohamed ElBaradei later changed his mind, and renewed a call for dialogue. [Egypt Independent, 1/31/2013]

Reactions to al-Azhar plan
Political figures have given their reactions to the ten-point plan spearheaded by the highest Islamic authority in Egypt. The initiative was announced following a meeting of a number of political figures under the auspices of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar. The presidency released a statement following the announcement of the initiative saying that Morsi “has followed up with great interest the meeting of the national powers.” The statement added, “the presidency also highly appreciates the call included in the document for activating national dialogue.” The plan has triggered an uproar among some revolutionaries who perceive it as an attempt to criminalise protesters and legitimise security crackdowns on demonstrators. [DNE, Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), 2/1/2013]


Petroleum Ministry denies rumors of fuel shortage
The country is not experiencing a shortage of gasoline or diesel fuel, the Petroleum Ministry announced on Thursday. In a press statement issued on the sidelines of a conference on the regulation of mining industries, Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal said the ministry met 103 percent of the demand for petrol on Tuesday, and 105 percent on Wednesday. The minister added that he has inspected several gas stations and could not explain why cars were queuing for gas. Officials have blamed the black market for consuming supplies and creating artificial shortages, and the media for stoking panic among drivers. [Egypt Independent, 1/31/2013]

Tourism investors shy away from Egypt amid violence
Travel agencies and tour operators have been reluctant to visit the Egyptian pavilion at the International Tourism Fair in Madrid, apparently scared off by reports of the wave of violence that was launched during demonstrations marking the second anniversary of the 25 January revolution, said Elhamy al-Zayat, the head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation. The fair ends on Friday. “The agencies that visited the pavilion own hotels in Egypt and hope to market them; others only inquired about the security situation,” Zayat said. “We have not signed a single contract for the summer season.” [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 1/31/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s stocks rise slightly as foreigners buy | Ahram Online


Interior Ministry: Police will protect protests, stay neutral
The police force is committed to securing peaceful demonstrations and remaining neutral in the midst of the planned protests, said the Interior Ministry on Thursday.
Ministry spokesperson Hani Abdel Latif added that the police would protect public and private property and address any threats to citizens. All political forces must respect the peaceful nature of the demonstrations, he cautioned. The minister made the statement a day ahead of demonstrations planned for Tahrir Square and in front of the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace on Friday. [Egypt Independent, 1/31/2013]

18 arrested on charges of belonging to Black Bloc
Eighteen suspects accused of belonging a group of protesters known as the Black Bloc were arrested on Thursday, and at least one is accused of ties with Israel, said the prosecutor general’s office. One suspect was arrested in a building on Tahrir Square, and allegedly was in possession of maps and documents pertaining to vital institutions in Cairo, including banks and oil companies, claimed a statement issued by the prosecutor’s office, as reported in state-run news agency MENA. Orders have been given to the police and army officers to immediately arrest anyone in a Black Bloc mask. [Egypt Independent, DNE/AFP, 1/31/2013]

Sinai tribes give military until Friday to reverse land decree

Senior Sinai tribesman Eid Abu Sengar gave the Armed Forces until Friday to reverse their decision on banning land ownership in Sinai. Earlier in January, the Sinai tribes said they would give the state until 30 January to cancel the defense minister’s decree banning land ownership in the eastern border area, or they would revolt. The tribes threatened to block the international road to Rafah and roads leading to the industrial area in central Sinai until their demands were met. [Egypt Independent, 1/31/2013]

Also of Interest:
245 ‘rioters’ arrested in Cairo since revolution anniversary | Ahram Online
3 years prison to those arrested with weapons in demonstrations | Ahram (Arabic)


Clashes enter fifth day in Kafr al-Sheikh; 25 injured
Clashes between protesters and police in Kafr al-Sheikh reignited for the fifth consecutive day on Thursday night, lasting until the early hours of Friday morning. At least 25 demonstrators were reported injured from tear gas fired by security forces. Refusing to go to a public hospital for fear of arrest, they received first aid at a field hospital near the Kafr al-Sheikh Governorate headquarters. Security sources say they arrested five demonstrators, ranging in age from 15 to 17 years, for throwing rocks at the police. [Egypt Independent, 2/1/2013]

Protesters start arriving in Tahrir after rain delays
Protesters streamed into Tahrir Square just before Friday prayers for today’s "Friday of Salvation" demonstration. They gathered at a stage set up in front of the Mugamma, near Mohamed Mahmoud Street, where the Friday sermon was being broadcast. The speaker on the stage asked protesters to clean up the surrounding area, and spread plastic sheets to protect against the rain, which delayed the gathering on Friday morning.Scuffles erupted in the Mohamed Mahmoud March between participants and a number of pro-Morsi passersby as the latter expressed their rejection of a chant calling for bringing down the president. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, Reuters, 2/1/2013]

Hundreds march from Abbasseya to presidential palace
Hundreds of activists marched from the Nour Mosque in Abbasseya to the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace in Heliopolis, demanding the fall of President Mohamed Morsi’s regime. Protesters included members of the April 6 Democratic Front, the Popular Current and the Revolutionary Socialists. They chanted, "The people want to bring down the regime," "It is serious this time, we won’t leave it to anyone," and, "Down with the supreme guide rule." As protesters approached, clashes broke out with security forces. Black Bloc protesters were present in the march. The march from Abbasseya follows another march to the presidential palace that left from Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City shortly after Friday prayers. [Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 2/1/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ultras mark Port Said massacre anniversary | DNE
Brotherhood announces ‘positive’ results of ‘Together we build Egypt’ campaign | Ahram Online  


UN concerned about rising violence against female protesters in Egypt
The top United Nations official tasked with advancing gender equality today expressed “deep concern” about the escalating violence against women in Egypt, particularly those protesting in the days following the second anniversary of the revolution. “UN Women is deeply disturbed by the gravity of recent attacks against women, including the reports of sexual assault, many of which occurred in the same Tahrir Square in which women rallied to contribute to a better future for their country,” the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Michelle Bachelet, said in a statement. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 2/1/2013]

Minister: Egypt ready to sign Entebbe pact

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Bahaa al-Din told al-Ahram that Egypt is ready to sign the Entebbe agreement and reconsider its present position once the meetings of the Nile Basin States have reached a consensus that satisfies all parties including Egypt and Sudan. The ministers of the Nile states are due to meet on February 25th in the Rwandan capital Kigali. [SIS, 2/1/2013]

Egypt condemns Israel over bombing on Syrian territory
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr roundly condemned reports that Israel carried out an attack on Syrian territory on Wednesday. In a statement released on Thursday evening by the ministry on its official Facebook page Kamel Amr said, “such an attack on Arab land is totally unacceptable and is a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law.” The response from the ministry comes after Syria accused Israel of attacking a military facility near Damascus and the bombing of what is thought to have been a weapons convoy on its way to Lebanon, according to AFP. [DNE, SIS, 2/1/2013]

Also of Interest:
Islamic Summit begins official proceedings in Cairo tomorrow, 56 countries participate | Shorouk (Arabic)
Europe wants to see a stable Egypt — says Ashton | SIS

Photo: DNE

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