Middle East

Egyptians riot in Suez over police trials

Protesters overturn a police car in front of the courthouse in Suez, 6 July
Image caption Protesters in Suez threw stones at a court building and attacked police cars

Riots have erupted in the Egyptian city of Suez, after a court upheld the release on bail of policemen accused of killing 17 people during the uprising.

Hundreds of family members of the victims attacked police cars and pelted the court building with stones.

Similar clashes erupted in Cairo on Monday when the seven officers were originally granted bail.

Anger has been growing in Egypt about the slow pace of trials for Mubarak-era officials and security forces.

Activists have called for a million-strong demonstration on Friday in Cairo's Tahrir Square - the epicentre of the 18-day uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign on 11 February.

Brotherhood backing

Since then, only one policeman has been convicted in more than a dozen court cases over the deaths of nearly 850 people in the government crackdown on protesters, the AP news agency reports. He was tried in absentia.

And on Tuesday, a Cairo court acquitted three ministers from the Mubarak regime who had been charged with squandering public funds.

Following today's release on bail of the Suez policemen, Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement said it would back Friday's planned protest.

"The Brotherhood has decided to participate in the demonstration on 8 July [aimed at] raising the flag of justice so that all rights can be regained, and all criminals punished and all the demands of the revolution met," it said.

Official figures show that at least 846 people died in the January-February uprising, and 6,000 more were injured.

Some 10,000 civilians face military trials for their part in the protests, which has further enraged pro-democracy activists demanding an end to the repressive methods of the old regime.