"Egyptian Police Kill at Least 23 Unarmed Sudanese Migrants"
CAIRO, Egypt Dec. 30 - Egyptian riot police rushed into a crowd of unarmed Sudanese migrants early this morning, killing at least 23 people, including small children, after the group refused to leave a public park it had occupied for three months hoping to pressure United Nations officials to relocate them.
The police tried for hours to persuade thousands of men, women and children to leave the small square, hosing them with water canon, surrounding them with cordons of riot police, imploring the women and children to board buses, and repeatedly warning that they would be removed forcefully.
But the crowd was desperate, having moved with all their possessions, suitcases loaded with clothing and family photographs, jewelry and kitchen wares, into what amounted to a traffic island in a middle class neighborhood. They hoped the authorities would declare them refugees and send them abroad. They had fled war-torn Sudan, but the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees office in Cairo - across from where they camped out - told them that they were not eligible for refugee status or for relocation because it was safe for them to return home. (more)