Protesters assaulted security forces during rioting outside the Israeli Embassy last August, police witnesses testified in court Wednesday.
The State Security Emergency Court later adjourned the trial of 76 suspects to 24 March. The prosecution has accused them of violence against civil servants, assaulting policemen, breaking into the Giza Security Directorate, damaging public and private property, and possessing bladed weapons with the purpose of destabilizing public security.
"I was notified that protesters were gathering before the Saudi Arabia Embassy, who then decided to assault the Giza Security Directorate,” said police officer Ahmed Ibrahim Moussa, a witness in the case.
Moussa said that when he arrived at the area of Murad Street lined by the Israeli and Saudi embassies, as well as the Giza Security Directorate, a group of people he called saboteurs began attacking security forces with stones and Molotov cocktails.
Moussa testified that the alleged attackers were not protesters, since they didn’t have any demands. Policemen injured in the attacks had to be taken to hospitals, he said.
“We were at several protests and strikes of Public Transport Authority drivers and others, which were peaceful ones that were secured by police, unlike what those saboteurs did at the embassy,” he said.
Moussa also added that security forces arrested eight suspects on the scene and held them near the embassy until they were taken to the Giza Security Directorate.
Additional police reports were later filed against other protesters who attacked police, Moussa said, and most of the defendants were arrested after the clashes.
Moussa denied arresting any suspects who weren’t involved in the riots, and noted that police officers were only provided with tear gas canisters and blank ammunition.
Policeman Mohamed Abdel Shakour, another witness in the case, said, “During interrogations, suspects admitted to attacking the Giza Security Directorate and Israeli Embassy." He did not provide any details as to how many suspects admitted to attacking the buildings or why.
The prosecution has said its investigations found that people with criminal records, as well a former police officer accused of inciting the riots, were among the 40 suspects.