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Three dead in clashes between Egyptian forces and protesters

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the unjustified escalation of violence by Egyptian police officers against protesters in the city of Mansoura, Dakahlia Governorate, on 3 March 2013, which led to the death of three citizens and the wounding of many others, according to doctors in the city.

The city of Mansoura witnessed, on 1 March, for the fifth successive day, violent clashes between the security forces and certain civilians as Molotov cocktails and stones were being thrown around. Security forces also heavily used tear gas bombs on protesters. The recorded injuries indicate that the security forces or their civilian supporters used cartouche and ammunition which resulted in at least one of the deaths.

The forces used combat vehicles to intentionally chase protesters resulting in the death of one man who was hit and run over by one such vehicle.

Violations committed by security forces also included the arbitrary arrest of several demonstrators and passersby.

Leaders of partisan parties in the city asserted that security forces targeted the headquarters of the People's Coalition and the People's Current (Al Tayyar Al Shaabi) which are both located within close proximity of the action. Both headquarters were attacked by tear gas bombs and put under siege by security forces several times, which risked the lives of protesters seeking refuge inside the parties' headquarters as well as the lives of injured protesters who were being treated in makeshift hospitals set up inside the offices.

"The security forces' persistence to repeatedly commit crimes, some of which could be considered crimes against humanity, under almost identical circumstances wherever clashes may occur, proves beyond the reason of doubt that these violations and crimes are a methodological policy that has not changed since the revolution," stated ANHRI.

"This actuality is not strange as the Ministry of Interior has not witnessed any change in its methodology since January 2011 and the political leadership did not pay due attention to the restructuring of security bodies. Those involved in murders, torture, and violations of human rights have not been held accountable either."

ANHRI added, "The public prosecution, whether at the time of the former Attorney General or the current one, bears a huge chunk of the responsibility attached to the repeated crimes of the security forces, because of its lack of initiative in regards to investigating these crimes."

ANHRI calls on the authorities to restrain the security forces and to halt their violations and crimes immediately. It demands the formation of an independent and neutral investigative committee to inspect the violence that has been taking place in several governorates since 25 January 2013. It also demands that human rights organizations be permitted to participate in the committee.

The Egyptian authorities' continued persistence at ignoring the statements of civil society parties and unions calling on them to point security forces in the right direction, hinders justice, heightens the political crisis, and threatens the stability of the state and the security of its citizens, asserted ANHRI.

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