Egypt police fire teargas as protesters clash; one dead

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Updated 28 December 2013

Egypt police fire teargas as protesters clash; one dead

CAIRO: One person was killed in clashes during protests in Egypt on Friday, state news agency MENA reported, as protesters pressed on with demonstrations against the army-backed government.
MENA quoted an ambulance service as saying the death occurred in the Nile Delta province of Sharqia.
Earlier, police fired teargas in Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria on Friday to break up clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted President Muhammad Mursi, security sources said.
Egypt has been thrown into turmoil by the military’s ouster of Mursi on July 3 following mass protests against his rule, a move that prompted his Muslim Brotherhood movement to organize daily demonstrations in cities across the country.
Thousands of Mursi’s supporters protested on Friday in the capital Cairo, the second biggest city of Alexandria and other coastal and Nile Delta towns, the security sources said.
“Clashes erupted in Alexandria between pro-Mursi protesters and residents who oppose Mursi,” said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified.
“They were annoyed by the protest that included anti-army chants, and it led to security forces firing teargas to disperse the crowds,” he added.
Smaller clashes also broke out in the Nile Delta province of Sharqia and the coastal city of Damietta, where one Mursi supporter was injured. On Aug. 14, Egyptian security forces broke up the two main pro-Mursi sit-ins in Cairo and killed hundreds of civilians.
The army-backed government then declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew. Thousands of Brotherhood members, including Mursi himself, have been arrested.
Around 57 people were killed in clashes between Mursi’s supporters and opponents last Sunday, one of the bloodiest days since the army seized power.
While the military intervention has the support of most Egyptians, the international community, and many in Egypt, have looked on with alarm as the army and police crack down hard on Mursi and his backers.
The United States, an ally of Egypt that has long supported its military with cash and equipment, said on Wednesday it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles to Cairo, as well as $260 million in aid.
US Secretary of State John Kerry had said Washington would consider resuming some of the aid “on a basis of performance” as the interim government seeks to implement a “road map” designed to lead the country to fresh elections next year.
Egypt criticized the decision, saying it found it strange at a time when the country was “facing a war against terrorism.”
However, the US State Department said it would continue military support for counter terrorism and security in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders US ally Israel.
Egypt has been fighting an insurgency in the largely lawless region, which is also near the Palestinian Gaza strip. Sinai-based militants have intensified their attacks on military and police units since Mursi’s ouster. Six soldiers were wounded on Friday when a bomb exploded near army vehicles in Rafah city, northern Sinai, according to state media. Around 150 security personnel have died in Sinai’s insurgency since Mursi was toppled, according to an army source.


Yemen prisoner exchange talks open in Switzerland

United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths. (AP)
Updated 19 September 2020

Yemen prisoner exchange talks open in Switzerland

  • The Yemen conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and sparked what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis

GENEVA: Rival parties in Yemen’s war opened UN-sponsored talks on Friday aimed at an exchange deal for the release of more than 1,400 prisoners, the UN said.
The internationally recognized government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels agreed to exchange some 15,000 detainees as part of peace deal brokered by the UN in Sweden in 2018.
The two sides have since made sporadic prisoner swaps, but the release of 900 loyalists in exchange for 520 insurgents — if it materializes — would mark the first large-scale handover since the war erupted in 2014.
“The #Yemen Prisoners & Detainees Committee meeting started today. I am grateful to #Switzerland for hosting it & to @ICRC for co-chairing,” UN envoy Martin Griffiths tweeted, without giving an exact location for the talks.

FASTFACT

The two sides have since made sporadic prisoner swaps, but the release of 900 loyalists in exchange for 520 insurgents — if it materializes — would mark the first large-scale handover since the war erupted in 2014.

“My message to the Parties is: conclude discussions, release detainees swiftly, bring relief to thousands of Yemeni families,” he wrote.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for its part, said it was ready to help with the return of detainees to their families.
A source close to Yemen’s presidency said on Wednesday that the talks in Switzerland would “lay out the final touches” after agreement was reached with the ICRC “on all logistical arrangements.”
Gen. Nasser Mansour Hadi, brother of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, along with several politicians and journalists, would be among those released, he said.
A former senior intelligence official, the general has been held by the rebels ever since they overran Sanaa in late 2014.
The Yemen conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and sparked what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.