Images of killed Egypt protester revive criticism of police

Images of a mortally wounded protester, blood running down her face and hair as she was lifted from the pavement by a comrade, have touched off powerful criticism of Egypt’s government on the anniversary of a revolution initially sparked by police brutality.

The photos and videos show a heavily armed police unit, with some members masked, shooting at a small, peaceful protest Saturday near Cairo’s Tahrir Square in which 32-year-old Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh took part.

A labor rights activist with a history of involvement in protests that predated the country’s 2011 revolution, el-Sabbagh was also a poet and mother of a 5-year-old boy.

She had traveled to Cairo from her home in Alexandria to attend the demonstration to demand police and officials be held accountable for protesters killed since the uprising four years ago that forced autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power.

She was killed by what authorities said was a blast of birdshot that pierced her heart and lungs from close range.

Relatives, friends and residents of Alexandria attend the funeral of Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, Jan. 25, 2015. (Reuters photo)

“I won’t listen to anyone who undermines my resolve,” she wrote on her Facebook page Saturday before taking part in the protest, saying she wouldn’t pay attention to those who think there is no point in protesting anymore.

Mahienour Al-Masry, an activist and friend of Al-Sabbagh’s, described her as a firm believer in change who used to take her son along with her.

“She really had her heart in it,” Al-Masry said.

Her death renewed criticism of police use of force and the government’s insistence that its crackdown is reserved for terrorists and violent protesters. (Reuters)