UK & World News

  • 2 February 2013, 17:49

Egypt: Police Beat Protester Outside Palace

An Egyptian protester has been dragged to the ground, stripped and beaten by security forces during clashes outside the country's presidential palace.

The attack in the capital Cairo was filmed by a camera crew, who saw the naked man being hauled into a police van.

Egypt's presidency said on Saturday it was "pained by the shocking footage" - and that it was "an isolated act".

It said the protester's treatment was of "a manner that does not accord with human dignity and human rights".

"The presidency affirms its and all state institutions' solicitude to implement what is contained in the Egyptian constitution on guarantees to citizens that ban torture, or terrifying and harming citizens mentally or physically," it said.

Egypt's Interior Ministry said it would investigate, and described the man's treatment as "regrettable and unacceptable".

Stones and bottles were earlier thrown at the prime minister's car as he tried to enter Tahrir Square.

The clashes came after a week of violence that reached President Mohammed Morsi's doorstep on Friday.

When petrol bombs were thrown over the palace fence, police responded by firing tear gas and water cannon into the crowd.

Protesters' tents were set alight as demonstrators burned tyres and hurled stones and fireworks.

A 23-year-old man died after being shot in the chest and forehead, and at least 50 people were wounded in clashes across the country.

There were scuffles near Cairo's central Tahrir Square and in Port Said, where tens of thousands of people gathered to mark the first anniversary of a football stadium riot that left 74 people dead.

Sky News' Sam Kiley said there were no demonstrations outside the palace on Saturday, although people were still gathered in Tahrir Square.

"The events seem to have somehow shocked people off the streets ... It may be that the hard-line demonstrators who were at it until the small hours of the morning are still recovering from the latest bout or that the opposition is starting to get a grip on some of these elements," he said.

Protesters in Egypt are demanding concessions from President Morsi, who has warned his security forces will act with "utmost decisiveness" to protect state buildings.

Others want the president removed from power altogether, saying his Muslim Brotherhood is monopolising power.

The Brotherhood accuses the opposition of trying to overthrow the first democratically elected leader in the country's 5,000-year history.

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