Egypt security forces kill one, wound over dozen in Nile island
One person has been killed and over a dozen people have been injured in clashes with security forces in Egypt’s al-Warraq Island, whose inhabitants had protested against a government decree on the demolition of unauthorized buildings on the Nile River island.
The brief standoff began early Sunday morning, when security forces besieged the island in a bid to oversee the demolition of residential buildings, which Cairo deems as illegally built on state land, but local residents increasingly clashed with them, trying to prevent their homes from demolition.
Angry inhabitants of the island either hurled stones or shot pellet guns at security forces, who responded with firing tear gas canisters and pellet guns.
Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population in a statement confirmed the death of one civilian and added that at least 19 others had also been wounded in the clashes.
Meanwhile, reports said over 30 members of security forces had also sustained injuries in the scuffles. The wounded from both sides were transferred by ferries for treatment to nearby hospitals.
Later in the day, government troops withdrew from the island and the demolition operation was postponed indefinitely.
The government argues that the buildings have been established in direct violation of laws on state land, while inhabitants of the islands accuse Cairo of evacuating the whole island in a bid to turn it into a business hub.