Thousands of protesters stormed the headquarters of Egypt’s State Security forces headquarters in Alexandria, Cairo, and a nearby town, shutting down its operations across the country, and seizing control of the vast archive of records. Egyptian ex-patriots are calling the day Egypt’s Bastille Day. Revelations are pouring out onto the Twitter hashtag #AmnDawla and the Facebook profile, Amn Dawla Leaks. Documents found at the State Security HQ reveal that it uses a product acquired from a German company called Gamma Group to hack into email and Skype accounts.
Around 1,000 people encircled the State Security Agency building late on Friday, demanding that the officers inside come out or they would storm the building.
Protesters then entered into the building and scuffled with riot police before military forces intervened and took control of the building.
Demonstrators said officers inside had been shredding and burning documents that may have proven past abuses.
Earlier in the evening, witnesses said protesters had thrown petrol bombs at police, who fired live rounds, critically wounding a 26-year-old protester in the chest.
An ambulance medic said shots were fired at the crowd and three people were injured.
The interior ministry denied officers fired on protesters and accused the crowds that entered the building of seizing weapons and holding guards hostage.
Several police cars were set ablaze.
‘Disband security apparatus’
The activists, who called the protests were demanding the abolition of the state security apparatus and an end to emergency laws.
Egypt’s internal security services and police forces, which were given a free hand to suppress dissent under the rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, remain to be a powerful symbol of the former regime.
Activists say security agencies arrested and tortured thousands of activists and killed many during the 30 years Mubarak stayed in power.
Ismael Alexanderani, a journalist and protester at the scene in Alexandria, told Al Jazeera that a minority of protesters were seeking “revenge” against the security forces, as several political activists who were present at the demonstration had been arrested or tortured inside the building earlier.
He said that while state security forces did use live ammunition against protesters, they did not aim for their heads, necks or chests.
In an address to pro-democracy campaignersin Cairo’s Tahrir Square earlier in the day, Essam Sharaf, the newly appointed prime minister, said the state security apparatus must work for the good of the people.
The case of a 28-year-old Alexandria businessman allegedly beaten to death by two policemen in June last year set off months of small-scale protests and became a rallying point for a campaign against brutality by the police and security services.