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Fierce Street Battles in Egypt as Families Demand Justice for Loved Ones Killed During the Uprising

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In Egypt, nearly 600 people have been reported injured in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after security forces attacked a large group of protesters overnight with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tensions erupted over the lack of accountability and justice for the nearly 1,000 people people killed during the 18-day popular uprising that led to the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak. Many of those attacked in the ongoing clashes are family members of protesters killed during the uprising. We speak with Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who reports from Cairo. [includes rush transcript]

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StoryJan 25, 2012“In Tahrir Square”: HBO Doc on Egypt’s Revolution Through Eyes of Democracy Now!’s Sharif Kouddous
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn right now to Egypt, to the streets of Cairo. Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous was there through the night. Nearly 600 people have been reported injured in Tahrir Square after security forces attacked a large group of protesters there.

Sharif, can you tell us what is happening, why the people are in the streets, and what is the reaction.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: [inaudible] that forced back the—

AMY GOODMAN: Sharif, we’re just hearing you right now. If you could repeat what you’ve said?

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Amy, these clashes last night come five months, to the day, after the January 28th clashes that forced back the Interior Ministry in Egypt. Last night we saw thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square. The Central Security Forces, which are the riot police here in Egypt, attacked the crowd. They shrouded the square in tear gas, and rubber bullets were fired. I personally saw many wounded people being carried out, many people suffocating from the tear gas and being treated on the ground.

This was sparked—there’s been rising tensions in Egypt for a sense that there is no lack of accountability or any lack of justice for the people who were killed in this revolution. Nearly 1,000 people were killed, 6,000 to 11,000 were wounded, in the 18-day uprising. And there’s no sense of any kind of justice. On Sunday, the much-reviled interior minister, Habib El-Adly, his trial was postponed again for a second time, until next month. That sparked fury from the families of marchers of the revolution who were outside. They’re not even allowed to be inside the courtroom.

Tomorrow, the trial of two police officers accused in the killing of Khaled Said, who is perhaps the symbol of police brutality here in Egypt—he was killed June 6, 2010, beaten to death by two police officers—the verdict is supposed to come down tomorrow. There has been a rising tension here in Egypt on these issues. Families of those killed in the revolution have staged a sit-in at the Egyptian radio and TV union headquarters. And this is what is said to have sparked the clashes last night, that some families were being—were attacked by police when they were at a commemoration for the families, that some of them were arrested. And this later spread to the Interior Ministry and then to Tahrir, and thousands of protesters flooded the square in solidarity, and they held back the Central Security Forces.

Currently, right now, there are minor clashes that are still continuing. Protesters have held the square. They’re calling for a sit-in now, and people are determined not to leave. They’re calling for a sit-in. The activists had been planning for next week, next Friday, July 8th—sorry, June 8th, to have a massive protest in Tahrir. It seems that that protest has just started now, because they are saying—

AMY GOODMAN: That was July 8th.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: —nothing has changed, there’s something wrong with the revolution, and we need to get back onto the streets.

AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous, speaking to us from Cairo, Egypt.

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