Violent clashes as Mubarak cleared of protest deaths

30 November 2014

Violent demonstrations in Egypt as former dictator is cleared of killing protesters in the 2011 uprising

One person is reported to have been killed in clashes between Egyptian security forces and demonstrators, angry at a court decision to drop the prosecution of former president Hosni Mubarak over the killing of anti-government protesters in 2011.

Tear gas and live rounds were fired at the demonstrators on 29 November as security forces tried to disperse crowds angry at the court decision that had amassed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

About 2,000 people are reported to have gathered in the infamous square, the focus point of the 2011 protests that ousted Mubarak.

Although the number of protesters was relatively small, the clashes highlight the challenge facing Egypt’s new regime as it seeks to establish its authority over the country.

The violence occurred just one day after two senior military officials were killed in separate drive-by shootings.

Mubarak, 86, was originally sentenced to life in jail for his part in the killing of 239 protesters by security forces in 2011. He was then acquitted on retrial. Mubarak is serving a separate three-year sentence for the embezzlement of public funds.

Since the military took control of the country in the 2013 coup, former general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has consolidated power and used brute force to reduce disruption from large-scale protests and increase political stability.

Public protests have been effectively outlawed and the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood, which came to power in the 2012 general election under Mohammed Mursi, has been branded a terrorist organisation.

Thousands of people have been arrested to enforce the new laws, with many being handed sentences in mass trials that have been branded unjust by human rights organisations.

Political groups have been banned on university campuses and ahead of classes restarting last month. The Al-Sisi regime issued students with a warning that there would be a “zero tolerance approach” to dissent.

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