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Suez Is Tense

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Just back from Suez where we met the director of the main hospital,
who confirmed 17 dead so far. On Friday 12 dead, killed by gunfire,
and 104 injured, three dead on Thursday and 2 more gunshot victims on
Saturday. This is the largest medical facility in Suez City, one of
two big public hospitals.

The atmosphere in Suez is tense; the big complaint is the absence of
security. There is a lot of rubble in the streets from stone-throwing, street
battles etc. The army is out in force; tanks are stationed on the
streets and the area around the main government buildings is
completely blocked off. A major police station that on Thursday was
surrounded by security and said to be holding many detainees picked up
at protests was torched and is now gutted.

Police and government officials have pulled out so there are no
government services - the governor's been gone since Tuesday so
there's a power vacuum. People formed impromptu block committees to
provide local security, armed (they say) with only sticks and kitchen
knives. The locals say the only people with weapons are police who've
taken off their uniforms and are responsible for most of the looting
and crime.