Supporter of embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarek rides a camel through the melee during a clash between pro-Mubarek and anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square on February 2, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Opponents and supporters of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak fought with fists, stones and clubs, in the first significant violence between the two camps. UPI | License Photo
LONDON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- London-based Amnesty International says the failure of police to protect demonstrators in Egypt is an "abdication of responsibility" by the government.
In a statement, AI asked Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman to end the violence against demonstrators and said five people were killed and hundreds were injured in fighting between pro- and anti-government supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square Wednesday.
"The Egyptian authorities must ensure that protesters, journalists and human rights activists are protected," said Salil Shetty, AI's Secretary General. "The lack of police on the ground responding to the violence is a blatant sign of the complicity of the Egyptian government in the violence, or at best the total abdication of responsibility for law and order at a moment of national crisis."
AI said "peaceful demonstrations must be allowed, whatever the views expressed, and peaceful demonstrators must be protected, and regardless of any political negotiations taking place."
AI also said security forces raided the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, an Egyptian human rights organization.
"Vice President Omar Suleiman has been appointed to handle the current crisis," Shetty said. "As such he must show true leadership now by responding to the organized violence that we are seeing on the streets."
AI's fact-finding team said the violence seemed to be "orchestrated in part by the authorities to suppress continuing mass protests calling for political reform."