Update: 27 arrested in Garden City, accused of rioting

Update: 27 arrested in Garden City, accused of rioting

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Mon, 28/01/2013 - 23:21

In the midst of ongoing violence in downtown Cairo and surrounding areas, security forces arrested 27 protesters near the US Embassy in Garden City, accusing them of inciting riots, reported the state-run MENA news agency.

The detainees were referred to the general prosecution for interrogation, security sources reported.

Clashes had earlier reignited on Qasr al-Aini Street in downtown Cairo on Monday night after demonstrators tore down three blocks from the concrete wall at the entrance to Tahrir Square.

Security forces launched a barrage of teargas at the protesters, who retaliated by hurling stones and Molotov cocktails. 

The clash came shortly after activist Ahmed Harara was struck in the head with by birdshot in Tahrir.

In a phone interview with the Baladna bil Masry talk show aired on the satellite channel ONtv, Harara said, “Once we passed before the officers on the Corniche, an armored vehicle ran over protesters." He added that security troops arrested and assaulted several protesters at the scene.

“We talked to the officers and told them we didn’t want to clash with them. Once we passed, after they allowed us, they ran over two of us,” he said.

Harara, a doctor, lost his eye during the Friday of Anger on 28 January 2011. His second eye was shot by a sniper on 19 November 2011 during the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes.

Earlier Monday evening, hundreds of demonstrators marching from Sayeda Zeinab mosque to the Shura Council began clashing with security forces on the Corniche in front of the Shephard Hotel.

Protesters allegedly detained a police officer and began physically assaulting him before others intervened and stopped the attack.  Activists negotiated the officer's release and he was taken to a hospital, said a security source.

Demonstrators also reportedly seized three armored police vehicles during the clashes, burning two of them in front of the hotel. A third was taken to Tahrir Square, where it was set on fire. A reporter for ONtv who was on the scene said that one of the vehicles hit two protesters, angering fellow demonstrators. Shortly before the attacks, police had fired a barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.

The march was organized to demand the dissolution of the Shura Council, the suspension of the Constitution and the formation of a coalition government. The Shura Council was elected by the now-dissolved People's Assembly, and opposition members have heavily criticized it, along with the Constituent Assembly that wrote the Constitution, for being dominated by Islamists.

Political forces participating in the march include the Revolutionary Socialists Movement, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Popular Current, the Tagammu Party, the National Association for Change, the April 6 Democratic Front and the No to Military Trials movement.

The march is a continuation of protests that began on Friday, marking the second anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution.

Security was tightened around the Cairo municipality headquarters after demonstrators in Tahrir Square threatened to storm it and declare Cairo an independent province.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm