Riot in Egypt after police kill pregnant woman

Angry residents set fire to police truck


Around 100 Egyptians set fire to a police truck on a main road in central Egypt on Thursday after a pregnant woman died during a police raid on her house, police sources said.

Mervat Abdu Salam, 32, stood in the way of police looking for a relative of hers in a case of theft in the town of Samalout, 200 km (120 miles) south of Cairo, they said. Police had a warrant for her brother-in-law, accused of robbery.

A policeman hit her with the butt of his pistol and she fell and died, said police.

Friends and residents of the town rioted when they heard of her death, pelting police with stones and setting fire to a police truck on the Cairo-Assiut highway. Police responded with tear gas.

An officer was taken to hospital with injuries.

Police trucks are often parked blocking Egyptian streets to prevent cars from passing when the president or a top official is passing in the neighborhood.

Human rights organizations have reported for many years that torture and abuse are rife in Egypt's police stations. Reports also suggested police used unnecessary lethal and excessive force in responding to demonstrations.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights has issued several reports that document that torture, in various and different forms, has reached alarming proportions in Egypt.

The Arab Network for Human Rights Information has also reported an escalation of police brutality and torture in a number of police stations, which have a long recond of breaking the law, torture and violation of human rights of citizens.

The network's website mentioned that a number of citizens have entered police stations alive and let it in coffins to their graves.