Middle East

Cairo clashes as court releases accused police

A poster showing Mohammed Sayyed Abdelatif, killed in the January/February uprising, at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt - 3 July 2011
Image caption Relatives of those killed in the uprising are demanding speedier trials of the accused

Clashes have broken out at a Cairo courthouse after seven police officers accused of killing protesters earlier this year were released on bail.

After scuffling with guards at the courthouse, hundreds of people then blocked the highway to Suez.

The police officers allegedly killed 17 people in Suez during protests that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

There is growing tension in Egypt over the pace of trials for police accused of using deadly force in the uprising.


About 850 people were killed as the former government tried to quell an 18-day uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak from power on 11 February.

After his overthrow, the new military-led government promised to reform the security services.

Activists, and the relatives of those killed, have been frustrated at the slow pace of trials for police officers and senior officials accused of involvement in the deaths.

Mr Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal are due to go on trial in August over the deaths of protesters.

After the judge in Cairo ordered the release of the seven officers and adjourned their trial until September, the victims' families tried to rush toward the defendants, who were quickly removed.

A number of people then tried to storm the judge's office but were blocked by security guards.

A group blocked traffic on the nearby highway to Suez, while other people inside the city mounted a protest.

The clashes were the latest unrest in Egypt after police and protesters fought in Cairo's Tahrir Square last week, leaving hundreds of people injured.

Tahrir Square was the epicentre of the protest movement that toppled Mr Mubarak.