Hundreds of protesters attacked public buildings in the city of Suez after a court rejected an appeal Wednesday and allowed seven police officers charged with killing demonstrators during the Jan.25 revolution to be released on bail.
Protesters hurled stones, torched police cars and attempted to storm a police station immediately after the decision. Police officers responded by throwing stones back at the mob. The city has grown increasingly restive with scores of people taking part in a sit-ins in Suez's main squares over the last two days.
On Monday the Suez court adjourned until September the case of 14 police officers being tried for killing 17 protesters. Seven of the officers were later released on bail, infuriating the families of the dead and highlighting the national anger over what many Egyptians see as a lack of justice for security forces and former top officials charged with killing more than 800 protesters during the the revolution that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak.
The case is the third involving police officers and former officials charged with murder during the 18-day uprising that ended on Feb. 11. Former Interior Minister Habib Adli is on trial for similar offenses. Dozens of other police officers have been charged, but so far only one has been convicted, receiving a sentence of death.
Activists and politicians are calling for a million-man march in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to pressure the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces to speed up police trials. The council has established a $16-million fund to provide medical, social and financial aid for families of victims and those injured during the revolution. But this has not appeased the April 6th Youth Movement, National Front for Change and the Jan. 25 Revolution Youth Coalition, which are all joining the march.
-- Amro Hassan in Cairo
Photo: A relative of an Egyptian killed during protests carries his photo in a demonstration outside a government building. Credit: Reuters