Saturday, 29 January 2011

Live Updates from Egypt | Human Rights Watch

Peter Bouckaert(Alexandria, January 29, 2011) - Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director:
Looting is reported in Alexandria, in the low-income neighborhoods of Bokkla, Sidi Bishr and Assafre.
  • Every street has men armed with sticks and knives to procte their shops and homes. they told us to stay out of poorer neighborhoods because security is very bad, lots of looting. Egyptians keep telling us they want to determine their own future, not one imposed by other countries, very much like Tunisia.
  • Reports that large numbers of criminals escaped or were released in alex during unrest, adding to looting and criminality.
  • Just got a call from a Popular Committee member in Sidi Basr neighborhood of Alexandria to say looting is going down because of Popular Committee members defending neighborhoods.a
  • We hear men armed with knives are looting empty homes in Bokkla. Locals are forming neighborhood committees to protect their homes. We were talking to the army when one group asked for help but the soldiers said they were overstretched and couldn't do anything today. Later we heard the army has asked people to coordinate the Popular Committee for Protection of Property and said reinforcements are coming tomorrow. Many people stuck in Alexandria far from their homes without transport home.

(Alexandria, January 29, 2011) - Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director:
I went to the Morgue at the Alexandria General Hospital, where I saw 13 bodies of dead people - all men, young and old, but mostly young. Also visited the hospital's emergency room and saw many people who had been shot and were still waiting to get treatment. Live bullets seem to have been used by police yesterday evening when protesters went to attach police stations, but also by security services against people even in their homes. One man who told me that thugs (whom he referred to as "mukhabarat," the Egyptian security services) showed up at his apartment, accused him of throwing things on police from his windows, and shot him.

The Egyptian government has got to rein in its security forces on the streets of Egypt's cities today.

Things are very tense in Alexandria. Large protests are ongoing. The police stations appear to have all been burned. Yesterday, demonstrators tried to burn down the building of intelligence services, but seem not to have succeeded. The army is not intervening -- so far.