Interior Ministry to commemorate Mohamed Mahmoud clashes

The Ministry of Interior issued a controversial statement Sunday, saying it is keen on commemorating the second anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, immortalizing the role of the martyrs in the path of “national work.”

As different political powers battle over the memory of the 2011 clashes, which left over 40 people dead, the Interior Ministry said it would take measures to secure those participating in the commemoration, warning participants to be on “high alert for infiltrators” who aim at distorting the memorial.

The Interior Ministry said it wants to honor the anniversary “within the framework that suits the awareness and civilization of its participants.”  

“The ministry confirms it is working for people’s best interest without discrimination and within the legal framework,” the statement said.

On November 19, 2011, clashes raged for four days between protesters and Central Security Forces, leaving at least 40 people dead. An attack by the military on protesters during those four days also resonated with the public, who remember images of military police dragging dead bodies and stacking them near a pile of garbage.    

The Muslim Brotherhood took a passive stance during the clashes, focusing rather on the parliamentary elections that were scheduled days from the clashes.

In its statement, the Interior Ministry offered its condolences to all the revolution’s martyrs, “whose pure blood watered the tree of national struggle.” The ministry concluded by giving “glory to the martyrs.”

The statement caused a social media uproar from many who hold the Interior Ministry and the Armed Forces directly responsible for the deaths.

Several critical Twitter users posted excerpts from the ministry’s statement juxtaposed with pictures of the clashes.

Gamal Eid, executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, wrote on Twitter, “Stand witness, Mohamed Mahmoud.”

“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces was ruling, the Interior Ministry was retaliating, the Muslim Brotherhood were accomplices and instigators and the martyrs were increasing,” he tweeted.    

Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi also ordered Sunday that those killed in the 2012 Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, including journalists, should be considered martyrs of the revolution and treated as those who lost their lives in the January 25 uprising, state newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

This comes in response to requests from the casualties’ families and in reference to a decision issued last year granting martyr status to those killed in Mohamed Mahmoud in 2011, as well as in clashes in Maspero and around the Cabinet headquarters. 

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