Egyptian security forces at Al-Arish city ended a sit-in staged by hundreds of members of Al Fawakhriya tribe, and detained dozens of strikers and controlled over streets of the biggest city in the North Sinai Governorate .
Aljazeera.net correspondent pointed out that an initial agreement was reached. This agreement stipulates that five delegates from Al Fawakhriya tribe, five from Al Tarabin tribe took place, and two conventional judges meet today at the governor office to agree on how to solve the crisis that led to this volatile situation.
It is worth mentioning that thousands of angry demonstrators destroyed the premises of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in the city of Al-Arish, North Sinai Governorate, while others attacked a police station, burned a picture of president Hosni Mubarak and destroyed other state premises and centers.
These incidents took place after a tribal conflict between both tribes of Al Fawakhriya and Al Tarabin. Police sources declared that a group of masked Bedouins opened fire randomly in Al Fawakhriya region, injuring three persons and demolishing a number of stores and cars .
Up to thousands of demonstrators took to streets on Saturday evening, Oct, 6th, 2007, protesting at the police alleged recklessness towards an armed attack which they faced on Saturday from Al Tarabin tribe, leading to injuring 5 members of Al Fawakhriya tribe, due to a quarrel between members from both tribes.
According to press sources at the city of Al-Arish, members from Al Fawakhriya tribe, up to 500 persons, in six small trucks without car number plates attacked a district that includes members of Al Fawakhriya tribe on Saturday evening at the city of Al-Arish, and they fired randomly at all passers-by after a quarrel erupted between two young men from both tribes, and they destroyed cars and shops.
Protests continued till Sunday when Egyptian security forces were mobilized to confront the protests as they sealed off streets and hundreds of soldiers were deployed to control over the critical situation in the biggest city in North Sinai Governorate.
The Associated Press said that Dozens were injured in clashes when plainclothes police attacked the demonstrators with batons, tear gas and metal chains, police and witnesses said. Two police officers were also injured and at least 40 people were arrested.
The agency quoted Hassan Abdullah, a member of an opposition party in the city and was in the scene, saying the demonstrators removed pictures of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak hanged on the NDP premises and set ablaze its furniture and documents.
The demonstrators set ablaze also the municipality building and a number of small shops and burned tires in streets while security services were struggling to control over the situation.
Amin Al-Qassas, a leader of the Wafd opposition party branch in Al-Arish and was an eyewitness on the clashes, said that the demonstrators closed roads leading to downtown and demanded North Sinai governor and the police chief to step down.
Abd Al-Hamid Musallam, a tribal chief, said" we have the right to be angry and feel disappointed. We want them to know strangers don"t have the right to enter the region and attack residents. They must do something to protect us from these thieves and highwaymen".
For his part, Abd Al-Hamid Sily, a member of the Egyptian People"s Assembly, the lower chamber of parliament, and a member of Al Fawakhriya tribe, told AFP that that the police sought to restore law and order during the confrontations.
He said also that such a kind of conflicts mostly takes a course of violence, but he confirmed that these spontaneous demonstrations reflect " a state of frustration among the Bedouins toward the discrimination exercised by authorities. It is worth mentioning that relations between the central authority in Cairo and Sinai Bedouins are worsening.
The city tribes remain in a weaker situation due to the fact that they live in the city and can"t carrying weapons or escape to mountains, making them always resort to security services to protect them from any attack launched by the Bedouins, said Islamonline correspondent. When they faced Saturday attack, their anger mainly focused on the security services which they accused of inability to protect them from some lawbreakers, according to them. However, members of Al Tarabin tribe confirm that what happened is due to the attack launched by a group of Al Fawakhriya tribe against a member of their tribe without any reason.
It is worth mentioning that the clashes between the Bedouins and the residents of the regions are not that common in Sinai. Many Bedouins complain that tourism revenues aren"t sufficient. Some of them smuggle goods and persons across borders with Israel, in addition to growing cannabis.