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(Human Rights Watch) Cairo – The Egyptian government should order security forces, especially police and plainclothes agents, not to use live fire against peaceful protesters and bystanders, Human Rights Watch said today. Following reports that dozens have been killed at demonstrations, Human Rights Watch confirmed at least 33 dead in Alexandria and heard plausible reports of at least 50 to 70 dead at a single morgue in Cairo.

Human Rights Watch urged the Egyptian army to continue to exercise restraint in the face of legitimate protests and warned that soldiers and police could face prosecution if they open fire on demonstrators without justification or give orders to do so. The authorities should immediately open investigations into the live fire in Alexandria and elsewhere by police and plainclothes agents and prosecute those responsible for unjustified killings and injuries, Human Rights Watch said.

“We hope the Egyptian army will not follow the ruthless brutality of Egyptian riot police in their confrontations with demonstrators,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Police and plainclothes agents seem to be shooting people without justification, using live bullets or firing teargas canisters straight at protesters. Those giving the orders to shoot, no matter how senior, should also be held to account.”

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