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Egypt: Fatal police shooting of civilian prompts protest in Matrouh

The fatal shooting of civilian Hafez Abd Rabbo by a police officer in the coastal city has been met with calls for accountability
Hafez Abd Rabbo, 35, seen here beside his car, was shot dead by police (Screengrab/Twitter)

The shooting of a 35-year-old civilian in Egypt's coastal city of Matrouh on Tuesday has prompted angry confrontations with the police.

Hafez Abd Rabbo was involved in an argument with a police officer after refusing to stop driving and parking outside a car showroom that Abd Rabbo owns.

Minutes later, according to local media, the police officer fired multiple times at Abd Rabbo, killing him.

The officer has since been taken to the headquarters of the armed forces in the city, according to local reports.

A funeral was held for Abd Rabbo the following day, with police in the area coming out to pay their respects and condemn the officer for the shooting.

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People in the city gathered after the funeral to protest the killing.

The army intervened to disperse crowds that had congregated outside the police station.

Tensions peaked on Wednesday when protesters set fire to tyres and there were reports of attacks on police officers. 

Police officers have since blocked roads around Matrouh and made some arrests, according to Mada Masr. 

A source told Mada Masr that security forces asked for the members of the victim’s family to meet at the Sidi Barani police station in order to settle the dispute, but the family has insisted that they would like to pursue legal options.

Dozens of people have been using the hashtag Sidi Barani in Arabic to highlight the issue. 

Videos shared online under the hashtag showed that armed vehicles had been assembled outside the station.

Middle East Eye could not independently verify the footage. 

Calls for accountability

The anger on the streets is also present online, with people taking to social media to call for the officer to be held accountable and for the shooting to be investigated.

“The Egyptian Ministry of Interior has not issued any statements so far about the incident, nor has it given an explanation on the officer that killed a citizen. They have not apologised to the Egyptian people for the heinous crime against one of their people,” one social media user said in a tweet. 

Osama Gaweesh, a UK-based Egyptian activist and journalist, also joined calls for accountability following the incident. 

“This is an issue that [cannot] carry on without any clarifications as to what happened or a trial, especially as two days ago a civilian died in a police station in Alexandria after he was detained, and a week before that an army officer decided to ram into a family with a car,” he said on Twitter. 

“There is no alternative but real accountability. Impunity for criminals, whatever their status, is a threat to the public security of the entire country,” he added. 

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