EGYPT : authorities bear responsibility for unrest and killings

Press release
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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) expresses its deepest concern at the violence and chaos which accompanies the demonstrations in Egypt, which Egyptian authorities seem to have contributed to exacerbate.

To date, 65 individuals would have been confirmed dead as a result of the demonstrations of the last two days, while figures could certainly be greater, due to the extent of the instability beyond Cairo and Alexandria, through Suez, Ismaïlia and Mansoura.

After the second day of demonstrations, the police forces appear to have left the ground, leaving the streets to scenes of looting in several areas of Cairo. This evening, the Defense Ministry has in this respect called for the local population to organize its own safety and security, a situation which could further spark urban violence.

FIDH deplores the attitude of the Egyptian authorities which have failed to prevent the violence, if not contributed to its acceleration. Indeed, beyond the official refusal of the demonstrations, authorities have blocked access to communication through phones and through the Internet. The arrests, which would concern between 2 to 3 thousand individuals, would have targeted peaceful demonstrators, thus infuriating the demonstrators and feeding greater unrest. The declarations of President Mubarak through the national television appear to have stigmatized further the unrest. Today, the designation of the Head of the military intelligence as Egypt’s new Vice President and the designation of an army officer as Prime minister demonstrate a willingness to toughen the military ruling of the regime, rather than responding to a much expected democratic opening.

In this context, FIDH calls upon the Egyptian authorities to:

 re-establish Internet connections;
 re-instaure public order while respecting human rights and in particular the physical integrity of arrested people;
 enable and facilitate peaceful demonstrations.

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