UPDATE: Egypt imports 21 tons of tear gas from the US, port staff refuses to sign for it
Manar Ammar | 28 November 2011
CAIRO: The arrival of 7 and half tons of tear gas to Egypt’s Suez port created conflict after the responsible officials at the port refused to sign and accept it for fear it would be used to crackdown on Egyptian protesters.
The shipment has been moved by the ministry of interior to its Cairo storage facility, amidst strick and secretive security measures. Local reports say the staff, initially under investigation, have been spared investigation after having a discussion over the matter with their superiors.
Local news sites published documents regarding the shipment shows that the cargo that arrived in 479 barrels from the United States was scheduled to be delivered to the ministry of interior.
The reports also mentioned in the documents that a second shipment of 14 tons of tear gas was expected, making the total 21 tons, in one week.
The importing of tear gas comes after thousands of tear gas canisters were fired at Egyptian protesters last week as clashes raged in downtown Cairo, just off from the iconic Tahrir Square, where thousands of protesters had gathered.
The gas used has angered activists, who say the effects of exposure has yet to wear off, with a number of protesters telling Bikyamasr.com that they have coughing fits, chest pains, blurred vision and their arms often shake. According to the Journal of Royal Medicine, the use of CS Gas – the most common choice of Egypt’s police last week – can have lasting symptoms for over one year.
Egypt’s al-Shorouk newspaper reported that upon the arrival of the shipment, massive disagreements broke out between employees, where five employees refused to sign for the shipment, one after the other.
The five, being dubbed by activists as the “brave five”, were to be refereed to a investigative committee as to why they refused to perform their duties, which has since called off.
The news about the shipment’s arrival stirred the Twittersphere, after it was consumed all day with the country’s first post-revolution elections, and activists mocked the reinforcement of weapons that is being used against them.
Many commented, saying that “gas bombs are definably more important than importing wheat to make bread.”