Egypt's Interior Ministry offered a rare expression of regret today after riot police were caught on camera a day earlier beating a protester who had been stripped of his clothes, and then dragging the naked man along the muddy pavement before bundling him into a police van. The video of the beating, which took place late yesterday only blocks from the presidential palace where protests were raging in the streets, further inflamed popular anger with security forces just as several thousand anti-government demonstrators marched on the palace again today. The uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011 was fueled in part by anger over police brutality.
In the footage aired live on Egyptian TV, at least seven black-clad riot police used sticks to beat 48-year-old Hamada Saber, who was sprawled out on the ground, shirtless and with his pants down around his ankles. In a statement, the Interior Ministry voiced its "regret" about the assault, and vowed to investigate. But it also sought to distance itself—and the police in general—from the abuse, saying it "was carried out by individuals that do not represent in any way the doctrine of all policemen." Later in the day, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim put the blame elsewhere entirely, saying initial results from the public prosecutor's investigation indicated that Saber was undressed by "rioters" during skirmishes between police and protesters. Click for more. (Read more Egypt protests stories.)