Egyptians rally to protest killing of 42 in clashes a year ago

Reuters Middle East

CAIRO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Protesters scuffled with Cairo

police on Monday during a rally by 5,000 people to mark the

first anniversary of the death of at least 42 Egyptian

demonstrators during interim military rule.

The demonstration underscored public pressure on elected

Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to punish killings and abuses

during security crackdowns by the military council that replaced

Hosni Mubarak after his fall in a popular revolt last year.

The issue of holding leaders of the Supreme Council of the

Armed Forces (SCAF) to account touches a sensitive nerve since

the generals intended to ensure immunity from prosecution before

they ceded power, diplomats say.

In November 2011, police pulled down the tents of protesters

who had camped in Tahrir Square overnight after a demonstration

of some 50,000 people, mostly Islamists, against the SCAF.

That prompted thousands of protesters to return to the

square and clashes erupted. Police beat protesters with batons

and fired rubber bullets and tear gas at them. Protesters broke

off chunks of cement from sidewalks to throw back at the police.

The clashes, in which at least 42 protesters died, have

since been coined "Mohamed Mahmoud events" after the street in

which they took place.

In Monday's demonstration, stones and empty bottles were

hurled and 24 people were injured, including four policemen.

"We swear by your blood martyrs, there will be another

revolution!" demonstrators chanted on Monday, waving Egypt's

flag and posters of people who died during the clashes.

"Down, down with rule by the guide!" they added, suggesting

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie pulls the strings even

though Mursi officially quit the Brotherhood on taking office.

The demonstrators were mostly youth from the non-Islamist

camp, including Ultras soccer fans, Revolutionary Socialists,

and public figures such as leftist activist Kamal Khalil.

Mahmoud Street, where they gathered, is located off Tahrir

Square, the epicentre of the mass demonstrations that forced out

Mubarak, and also near the interior ministry.

During SCAF rule, at least 12,000 civilians were tried by

army courts and over 100 protesters were killed in clashes with

army and police, with thousands more injured, rights groups say.

"We want justice for the martyrs and purging of the corrupt

interior ministry, and we want Mursi to adopt a public plan for

reform of the police forces and the country in general," said

Nader Eissa, one of the demonstrators on Monday.

(Reporting by Saad Hussein; Writing by Shaimaa Fayed; Editing

by Mark Heinrich)

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