Egypt Independent

UPDATED: Thousands of Egyptians chant against police, army in funeral of slain activist



 
A funeral was held Sunday for socialist activist, Shaimaa al-Sabbagh who was gunned down during a protest in Downtown Cairo on Saturday marking the fourth anniversary of the 25 January 2011 revolution that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.
 
Arriving to Alexandria, Sabbagh's home town, for burial, the procession was joined by thousands, including several labor activists and workers who labelled Sabbagh as an advocate of labor rights as well as children, according independent daily Al-Shorouk.

 
The newspaper's portal  quoted attendants to the procession as chanting "down with the military regime" and "Interior Ministry are thugs." Workers in the procession were from KABO textile company and participants hoisted large banners bearing graffiti images of Sabbagh. 
 
al-Sabbagh was killed as police dispersed a protest near Talaat Harb Square on Saturday. While the Interior Ministry denied its personnel’s responsibility for her death, it vowed to arrest the perpetrators. Her companions reportedly accused police of shooting her down.
 
A video by Al-Masry Al-Youm showed participants in the procession, coming out from Cairo’s main morgue in Zeinhom, angrily chanting “as long as Egyptians’ bloods are cheap, down with any president.”
 
An official at the Forensic Medicine Authority told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Sabbagh was shot from a close range with three BB shots. The source said the authority’s report is expected within hours.
 
Medhat al-Zahed, a senior member at Sabbagh’s Popular Socialist Alliance, said in a conference Saturday that “Shaimaa was killed in cold blood by the only party that was present at the vigil…that party was security, it was only us and security.”
 
On Popular Socialist Alliance's Facebook page, deputy chairman Ilhamy al-Merghany dubbed the current government the “biggest terrorism maker.”
 
Khaled Dawood, another leader, slammed what he described as the “government's fraudulence and mendacity,” saying it “does not distinguish terrorist protests from Shaimaa's murder among rose bearers,” he said, referring to Sabbagh's co-participants in the Saturday protest who held roses.
 
While the Muslim Brotherhood lobbied for protests on the uprising’s anniversary, with a woman killed in clashes between security and group backers in Alexandria’s Miami two days ago, other political groups prefered not to take out to the street.
 
Ahmed Ezz al-Arab, deputy chairman of the liberal Wafd Party, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the party decided to keep its celebrations of the event indoors so as to “deprive terrorist groups the chance to ignite the situation again,” in a reference to the Brotherhood and supporters of ousted president and senior group leader Mohamed Morsy.
 
Adopting the same stance was the leftist Tagammu Party, where spokesperson Nabil Zaky said the party would merely hold seminars reviewing the political developments that followed the 2011 uprising.
 
Farid Zahran, a member of the supreme board at the Egyptian Democratic Party, said his party also rejects calls for protesting, adding that a conference by the party would be held to celebrate the anniversary.
 
Shehab Wageeh, spokesperson at the Free Egyptians Party, said celebrating the revolution “is better achieved by responding to its demands of “freedom and social justice.”
 
However, the April 6 Youth Movement, the most vocal liberal opposition group against political regimes over the past four years, urged all political movements to protest at all provinces. The group urged activists not to chant any partisan slogans.
 
The group said in a statement on Saturday that the anniversary is “a chance to unite all political movements that had taken part in the in the first revolution,” and urged groups willing to take part in protests not to adopt any partisan slogans.
 
In another context, the universities of Cairo, Ain Shams and Helwan tightened security ahead of the occasion in collaboration with security authorities. Several troops were deployed outside the Cairo University and Ain Shams University, with university heads at the three campuses giving workers a day-off for the occasion.