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1000s attend demos in Cairo, Alexandria

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in Cairo and Alexandria to protest the brutal killing of an unarmed man by Egyptian police.

The demonstration in Alexandria, which was held after Friday prayers, drew a crowd of approximately 5,000, with Nobel peace prize laureate and former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei participating in the demonstration, The Guardian reported.

Witnesses say that Khaled Said, 28, was beaten by plainclothes police officers after he questioned them when they demanded to see people’s ID cards at an internet café in Sidi Gaber, Alexandria on June 6. They subsequently smashed his head against a marble shelf before driving off with Said in their car and returning to dump his dead body into the street outside of the café.

The murder of Said was an “egregious humanitarian violation” and reveals the Egyptian government’s “lack of sanctity of human life,” stated ElBaradei.

Police officials have stated that Said was a wanted criminal and had in fact died from asphyxiation after swallowing a packet of narcotics hidden under his tongue, an allegation which his family adamantly denies.

The murder of Said by officers Mahmoud Alfallah and Awaad Elmokhber, who remain on active duty, has sparked a series of protests as the public decided to use the incident to also call for the revocation of the emergency law.

After the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat in 1981, President Hosni Mubarak’s government imposed the emergency law, which has put in place a state of emergency in Egypt for nearly 30 years, allowing the police to search and imprison individuals for virtually no reason.

ElBaradei says he is considering challenging Mubarak in next year’s presidential election, if conditions for the poll prove to be free and fair.

In February 2010, the National Association for Change was formed by a coalition of Egyptian opposition movements to work for political reform. ElBaradei is currently the president of the organization.

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