Egyptians Honor Activist Whose Death Sparked Revolution

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 8:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Hundreds of Egyptians have taken to the streets to honor activist Khaled Said, beaten to death in the northern city of Alexandria one year ago in a savage attack blamed on police. The incident helped inspire the uprising that brought down Egypt's president.

Pictures of the 28-year-old's badly disfigured and bloodied face quickly spread over the Internet, sparking public anger in Egyptian cities that grew into the revolt that eventually toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.

On Monday's anniversary, crowds held protests in Cairo and Alexandria to remember him and draw attention to continued abuses by Egyptian police.

Hundreds gathered outside the Interior Ministry in Cairo, calling for the trial of those who killed protesters in the uprising. Another group stood on Cairo's Qasr El Nile Bridge passing out leaflets calling for a large demonstration Monday against police abuse. On a busy street in Alexandria, hundreds more held pictures of Said in their hands.

Last year, Said posted a video that he said showed two plainclothes policemen sharing the spoils of a drug bust. Witnesses say the officers later dragged Said out of an Internet cafe and beat him to death. Authorities said Said choked on illegal drugs he had swallowed.

The two policemen were put on trial, and a verdict is expected later this month.

In a separate development, Egypt's military rulers are lifting a nightly curfew imposed during the height of the uprising.

Military officials said Monday the curfew would end on June 15 in order to “encourage the return to normal life.”

The curfew – imposed January 28 when Mr. Mubarak was still in power – currently lasts three hours, from 2 AM until 5 AM local time.