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Egypt: Storming State Security

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011.

It wasn't long after the dismissal of former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Safik that some Egyptians attacked the headquarters of the infamous State Security (Amn El-Dawla in Arabic) in several cities like Alexandria, Ismailia and others on March 4. Soon, protesters moved on to the apparatus’ main headquarters in Nasr City in Cairo on March 5. It was noticed that many State Security officers were burning and destroying a lot of documents and files to remove any traces of Human Rights abuses they conducted in Egypt over the past few decades.

The archive room in main State Security HQ in Nasr City, Cairo: Reports about citizens and activists. By Hossam ElHamalawy – under CC license.

The archive room in main State Security HQ in Nasr City, Cairo: Reports about citizens and activists. By Hossam ElHamalawy – under CC license.

Cairo residents organized an event on Facebook between 4 – 5 March to siege every State Security HQ in Cairo by themselves after their demands on the High Military Council to dissolve the apparatus fell on deaf ears.

Egyptian bloggers covered the event where blogger Sarah published photos and news from the ground on Twitter:

@sarrahsworld: Burnt papers #amndawla !!!! http://yfrog.com/gz7fjarj

The charred remains of dossiers burnt at the State Security headquarters in Nasr City

The charred remains of dossiers burnt at the State Security headquarters in Nasr City

@sarrahsworld: Papers about students salaf http://yfrog.com/gzvlyqqj

Burnt documents on students with Salafi leanings

Burnt documents on students with Salafi leanings

@sarrahsworld: #amndawla trying to save fire http://yfrog.com/hsr7vdsj

Protesters climbing the State Security building walls to try and save documents from burning

Protesters climbing the State Security building walls to try and save documents from burning

Lilian Wagdy mentions that:

@lilianwagdy: الجيش يبدأ السيطرة على مقر أمن الدولة في ستة اكتوبر #AmnDawla #Jan25

The army began controlling the State Security HQ in the 6th of October city.

Mosa'ab ElShamy talks about:

@mosaaberizing: Some of the half-burnt documents #amndawla #october http://twitpic.com/46cy3d

Some of the half-burnt documents #amndawla #october

Some of the half-burnt documents #amndawla #october

While Amr Magdy reports:

@ganobi: نشطاء يحاولون قطع الطريق على عربات محملة بأوراق تخرج من أمن الدولة في 6 أكتوبر #Jan25 #Egypt #StateSecurity #AmnDawla

Activists trying to stop trucks filled with documents coming out of 6th of October State Security.

At the same time the blogger The barefooted Countess posts a list of all the addressed of State Security headquarters across the country:

تحرك أكثر تنسيقا لمحاصرة مباني امن الدولة ومنع اتلاف المستندات فيها.

For more coordinate to siege all State Security HQs and preventing them from damaging all the documents in them.

This is a video where a State Security Colonel is detained by the people in Ismailia:

And this next video shows how are State Security throwing Molotov cocktails at the protesters and the Egyptian army.

Some activists decided to do something similar to Wikileaks and published the State Security documents on the Internet like the ones found in the Damanhour HQ, which is located in ElBeheira governorate.

Hossam ElHamalawy, the Egyptian leading activist and photographer, documented the storming the main HQ in Nasr City in his flickr set here, while the blog Kashfun (meaning Uncovering) documented it in video.

Finally blogger Tarek Amr wrote his reflections on what was happening:

أما الذي لم يكن يمكنني حتى الحلم به أبد، هو أن أرى أحدهم على تويتر يقول أنه في طريقه إلى أمن الدولة، ثم يتمادى في سريالية الموقف بأن يتبعها بإبتسامة. و كانت مداهمة المتظاهرين في الأسكندرية لمبنى أمن الدولة هناك قرابة الفجر و تفتيشة و ربما إعتقال من بداخله، و كانها صورة معكوسة في المرآة لما كان يتم قبل الثورة، هي بمثابة البداية لتلك الأحداث السريالية الجميلة.

What I never thought of even dreaming about, is witnessing somebody on Twitter is on their way to State Security, not only that, but with a smile too! Storming the Alexandria State Security HQ at dawn, searching it and even detaining the officers was like the exact opposite to what was happening before the revolution. And this, is considered a beginning to a surrealistic beginning to what will be happening next.

This post is part of our special coverage of Egypt Protests 2011.

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