A state security building on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital was set
alight on Saturday, a security source said, one day after some 200 protesters
stormed state security headquarters in Alexandria.
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It was not immediately
clear who had set fire to the building in Egypt’s Sixth of October city, near
Cairo. Some witnesses said they had seen police burning documents in the
building, which had one floor burned out. Police said the property was set
alight by citizens.
At least seven people, including police and
civilians, were injured, witnesses said.
Suspicion of the state security
police, a branch of the police force which Egyptians say has treated citizens
with a very heavy hand, has grown since police clashed with demonstrators during
protests that led to the toppling of veteran president Hosni Mubarak on February
Also Saturday, an Egyptian criminal court began the first hearing in
the case against former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli, charged with
money-laundering and profiteering, the state news agency MENA
Adli was a reviled figure during the protests that led to
Mubarak’s ouster, and demonstrators had demanded his sacking after police beat,
tear-gassed and fired rubber bullets at them.
Bank accounts belonging to
Adli and his family were frozen last month following accusations that more than
4 million Egyptian pounds ($678,100) had been transferred to his personal
account by a head of a contractor company, state television said.
next hearing in the case against Adli will be held on April 2, pending
investigation of the relevant documents, MENA said.
Around 100 family
members of victims killed in the protests gathered in front of the court
Saturday demanding Adli's execution, a witness said. Investigations into the
violence during the protests are under way.
On Sunday, Egypt instated Mansour el-Essawy as the new interior minister, replacing Mahmoud Wagdy who was instated after Adli was sacked. Protesters demanded Wagdy's disposal as well, claiming he belonged to the old ruling elite.
Official news agencies related that the new minister announced his intentions to strengthen state security, which has deteriorated since a number of police quit their posts and several others disappeared fearing vengeance on behalf of the citizen population.
Essawy announced that he plans to build the homeland security system anew and restore its credibility in the eyes of the Egyptian populace.
A day earlier, Egypt’s new
prime minister told thousands of demonstrators in Tahrir Square that he was
committed to the goals of their revolution and promised to take to the streets
in protest if he could not deliver.
Egypt’s military rulers had
designated Essam Sharaf prime minister on Thursday, meeting demands for the
removal of Ahmed Shafiq in a step seen as an attempt to soak up anger that has
fueled protests since Mubarak stepped down.
The military council has set
a March 19 date for a referendum on constitutional amendments that will open up
competition for the presidency, held by Mubarak for three decades, the
government announced on Friday.
Sharaf also addressed demands for the reform of security
services whose reputation for brutality helped fuel the uprising, saying the
police should be in the service of citizens
Meanwhile, veteran diplomat Amr Moussa
talked economics and social justice when he hit the campaign trail for the
Egyptian presidency with a string of interviews that flagged him as the front
runner for the job.
Arab League secretary-general for the last decade,
Moussa, 74, is the most prominent figure yet to declare his candidacy for the
In a country where years of oppression have crushed political
life, Moussa’s high profile, oratorial skills and charisma have given him a
natural head start.
An online poll on the Web site of the Al-Ahram
newspaper on Thursday showed him with a big lead over ElBaradei, who is widely
expected to run but has yet to announce his candidacy.
economy must move on two wheels: the free market and social justice,” Moussa
said in an interview with the Al- Masry Al-Youm newspaper, one of at least three
he gave this week.
The economic policies of the last decade had resulted
in “overwhelming poverty for the majority and obscene wealth for the minority,”
he said, adding that growth had not benefited a large proportion of the
Moussa’s move into economics marked a step away from the
diplomacy that has defined his career. He was Egypt's foreign minister for 10
years until 2001, before being moved to the Arab League position, which he will
soon relinquish. As foreign minister, Moussa was an outspoken advocate for the
Palestinians as Cairo played a leading role in the Middle East peace
His popularity was widely assumed to be the reason Mubarak
removed him from the Foreign Ministry in 2001. To some, the final straw for
Mubarak seemed to be the release of the 2001 Egyptian pop hit, “I hate Israel, I
love Amr Moussa.”