By Marwa Al-A’asar
CAIRO: Suez protesters continued on Wednesday their sit-in in the main El-Arbaein Square for the tenth consecutive day, saying they won’t leave until their demands were entirely met.
Mass protests and sit-ins swept through the city since July 4 when a criminal court released on bail seven police officers charged with killing and injuring peaceful protesters in the first days of the January 25 uprising. Seven others are being tried in absentia. The trial was adjourned to September.
The release of the officers stirred unrest in the city where demonstrators accused the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the judiciary of violating the victims’ rights.
Protesters called for arresting the officers as well as sacking the Prosecutor General, the local attorney general and the justice and interior ministers.
They also called for opening an investigation into complaints filed before the Suez attorney general accusing 41 police officers and low-ranking policemen of committing similar crimes against demonstrators.
“We are persistent to remain in the square until all our calls are responded to,” activist Abdel-Aziz Kamel told Daily News Egypt.
Since last Friday, similar protesters and sit-ins have broken out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and others in major cities like Alexandria, calling for cleansing the judiciary and the interior ministry.
Protesters across the country called for faster trials of former corrupt officials and ex-president Hosni Mubarak and his wife and two sons.
Mubarak, currently detained in Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital for medical reasons, will stand trial in August over the premeditated murder of peaceful protesters, the injury of others and corruption-related charges.
Meanwhile, the situation was back to normal in El-Arbaein on Wednesday morning after two Upper Egyptian shop-owners near the square engaged in armed clashes the night before.
The protesters at first thought their sit-in was subjected to thuggery.
Two people were killed, over 10 were injured and several stores were set alight before army forces stepped in to control the situation.
Unconfirmed reports claimed there was a vendetta between the two families, which, according to Upper Egyptian customs, is passed down from one generation to the next.
“We insisted on remaining in the square, though,” Kamel said, adding that he suspected there was something fishy about the timing of these clashes.
“Why at this specific time Upper Egyptian families suddenly remember a vendetta?” he asked.
Suez witnessed intense clashes between demonstrators and security forces in the early days of the January 25 uprising. The first revolution martyr was shot dead in El-Arbaein on the night of Jan. 25.
Official reports said that 29 were killed and 1,000 others wounded during the clashes.