Egypt presidency says ‘pained’ by dragging, beating of naked protester


Egypt’s presidency said on Saturday it was “pained by the shocking footage” of police beating a naked man during overnight clashes outside the presidential palace that has outraged the opposition.

“The presidency was pained by the shocking footage of some policemen treating a protester in a manner that does not accord with human dignity and human rights,” it said in a statement.

A video of Egyptian police beating and dragging a naked man to an armored vehicle during Wednesday’s protests at the presidential palace has gone viral on the internet.

Outraged critics of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi compared the incident with police practices under deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.

The presidency, facing a flare-up in the political crisis that has dogged Mursi, said security forces would deal with violent protests with “utmost decisiveness” and that it would hold opposition groups found to have incited the clashes “politically accountable.”

A statement on Mursi’s Facebook page said the protesters sparked the violence by trying to break down the presidential palace gates and scaling its walls.

The opposition National Salvation Front, which called for nationwide protests on Friday, distanced itself from the violence outside the palace and urged protesters to exercise “utmost restraint.”

But hours before the violence broke out, NSF leader and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei suggested unrest would persist if Mursi kept on sidelining his opponents.