x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Police open fire on protesters in Cairo, killing one

As protests continued, the Egyptian intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman ,was sworn in as vice president this afternoon, the state news agency reported, the first such post to be held in Hosni Mubarak's 30-year presidency.

Protesters carry the body of a man apparently killed when police opened fire on demonstrators in Cairo this afternoon.
Protesters carry the body of a man apparently killed when police opened fire on demonstrators in Cairo this afternoon.

CAIRO // Police have opened fire on a massive crowd of protesters in downtown Cairo, killing at least one demonstrator.

Thousands of protesters are trying to storm the interior ministry located in the heart of the city, as massive anti-government demonstrations are sweeping through downtown Cairo, defying a government curfew and demanding the departure of President Hosni Mubarak

At least one body was seen being carried out on the shoulders of protesters this afternoon. Many people were wounded as well.

It was not immediately clear whether the riot police were shooting live ammunition or rubber bullets.

At the same time the Egyptian army used tanks and fired shots in the air to force back hundreds of protesters who were attacking the entrance to a building related to the Central Bank in a suburb of Cairo, a witness said.

The protesters, who were using wooden planks to try to break into the building, which prints paper money, fled after seeing the tanks approach and hearing the shots.

The Egyptian intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman ,was sworn in as vice president this afternoon, the state news agency reported, the first such post to be held in Hosni Mubarak's 30-year presidency.

A senior ruling party member, Ahmed Ezz, widely seen as a lynchpin of theregime, resigned from the National Democratic Party today, state television reported.

Mr Ezz, a powerful political and business player who is also close to President Hosni Mubarak's son Gamal, was a member of the NDP's policy secretariat.

An influential cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down for the good of the country, as his departure was the only solution to Egypt's crisis.

The widely respected Sunni Muslim cleric, who holds Egyptian and Qatari nationalities, also encouraged Egyptians to keep up peaceful protests, in an interview with Al Jazeera television.

"President Mubarak ... I advise you to depart from Egypt ... There is no other solution to this problem but for Mubarak to go," Mr Qaradawi said.

The cleric, a resident of Qatar who has a popular programme on Al Jazeera to advise on Islamic laws, heads the International Union for Muslim Scholars. He is considered one of the world's top Sunni preachers.

"Go Mubarak, have mercy on this people and leave so as not to increase the destruction of Egypt," he added.
"There is no staying longer, Mubarak, I advise you (to learn) the lesson of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali," he said, referring to Tunisia's deposed president who fled to Saudi Arabia.

Qaradawi, a spiritual leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, has in the past defended "violence carried out by certain Muslims."

"Some violence is legitimate in the eyes of both religion and law, such as resistance to the occupation in Palestine, Lebanon or in Iraq,"Mr  Qaradawi said last September.

"We call for peace because our religion orders it, but if war is imposed on us we will take it to our hearts."