Ten Sudanese migrants die as camp cleared

Ten Sudanese migrants have been killed as Cairo police moved in to break up a protest camp set up three months ago, Egypt's interior ministry says. Riot police fired water cannon at the Sudanese protesters, who had been refusing to leave the camp close to United Nations offices. The police forced the protesters onto buses after dismantling the camp. The migrants had been demanding that the UN refugee agency place them in a country with better conditions. But the UNHCR said it had no power to guarantee their demands were met. A number of people, including young children, were injured as thousands of police stormed the area armed with sticks. "They want to kill us," shouted one protester, as police forced protesters towards buses. "Our demands are legitimate, it is our right to protest here, the only right we have."

Twenty-three police officers were wounded, the interior ministry said, accusing migrant leaders of inciting attacks against the police. "Attempts have been made to convince them to disperse, but to no avail," the ministry statement said. The clashes "resulted in chaos and a stampede, which led to the injury of 30 migrants, mostly elderly people and children, who were transferred to a nearby hospital where 10 of them died," the statement said.

Up to 3,000 protesters had been living at the camp since it was set up on 29 September. The long-running demonstration began after the UNCHR stopped aid to those who had applied and failed to get refugee status. Since the makeshift camp was set up, several people have died and a number of babies have been born. Many people had been sleeping in the open.

The UNHCR says it has to prioritise help for people genuinely at risk of persecution and cannot solve issues of discrimination and deprivation in Egypt, where unemployment is high, reports the AP. Photo:AP I.L.

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