Egyptians smash buildings over policemen release

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Hundreds of Egyptians hurled stones at government buildings in the city of Suez on yesterday after a court upheld a decision to free 10 policemen on trial for killing protesters and grant them bail, witnesses said.

There were no reports of injuries in the violence, in which relatives of some of those killed in the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak on February 11 stoned the courthouse and the police headquarters in the Suez canal city.
“The courthouse, the security directorate offices and dozens of police cars were smashed,” one witness told Reuters. He said that some 300 protesters remained outside the compound, which was being guarded by soldiers.

Dozens of people were holding a separate protest in the city centre.

The violence could further inflame emotions ahead of demonstrations planned for Friday by activists impatient with what they see as the ruling military council’s foot-dragging in trying members of the former regime and implementing reforms.

The Suez court was hearing an appeal by the public prosecutor against the decision taken by a Cairo criminal court on Monday to free 10 policemen on bail who were charged with the deliberate killing of protesters in January.

The Cairo court had also put off to September the hearing against the 10 policemen, among them the former security chief in Suez. A local businessman and his three sons are also on trial in the same case.

The decision enraged hundreds of relatives of the victims who had travelled to Cairo for the hearing. Returning home after wards, hundreds of them blocked the main Cairo-Suez road for hours, causing big traffic jams.

Public criticism of the interim military council, which took over after Mubarak’s removal, has increased in recent weeks, many people complaining that the army was shielding Mubarak and members of his regime from justice.