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Egypt: Tear Gas Shipment Raises Questions About the US

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Months after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, and just days after many people were reported to have suffocated and died allegedly because of new types of tear gas used by the Egyptian police, a new tear gas shipment arrived at the Suez Port from the United States (US) a few days ago.

Photo shared by Shadizm on Facebook.

Photo shared by Shadizm on Facebook.

The story broke when it was reported [ar] in Al Ahram Arabic daily that the employees of the custom service in Suez refused to receive a shipment with containers of seven tons of tear gas in each, creating an uproar on social networking sites. Here is part of the conversation from Twitter:

@Psypherize: A new tear gas shipment 7 tonnes heavy just arrived in #Cairo from #Suez and stored by the #MOI. Get ready for another crackdown.

@RashaAbdulla: So apparently, the 7-ton tear gas shipment from the #US to #Egypt is only part 1 of 3. Total is 21 tons!!

@sharifkouddous: Suez rocks. Port workers in Suez refuse 7-ton shipment of tear gas from US to restock Interior Ministry supply

Later on, people knew that the workers will be subject to investigations for their refusal to receive the shipment:

احالة موظفي جمرك ميناء السويس للتحقيق الان لرفضهم استلام شحنة غاز مسيل للدموع خاصة بالداخلية
@3alaelhawa: The employees of Suez customs will be subject to investigations for refusing to receive the tear gas shipment.

Netizens were also worried about the government's intentions:

@elkammar: I pay my government to get a better tear gas, a better way to kill me and my brothers

And to show their solidarity with the workers, many Twitter users shared the following message:

أعلن أنا تضامني الكامل مع موظفي جمرك ميناء السويس الذين يتم التحقيق معهم الان لرفضهم استلام شحنة غاز مسيل للدموع للداخلية مصرية
@Ahmed_hosny_s: I announce my full solidarity with the workers in Suez customs who are being questioned now for refusing to receive the tear gas shipment sent to the Egyptian Ministry of Interior

Others urged employees in other Egyptian ports to do the same:

@AnonyOps: Spread the message to Egyptian port workers. Refuse tear gas at the ports!

The tear gas bombs in this shipment are manufactured in the United States, hence people are wondering how the US claims to support the Arab world revolutions yet continues to support tyrannies across the region.

@freddydeknatel: But what does that say then, when you’ve got tear gas shipments arriving in the Port of Suez with “Made in the USA” on the side of them?

@waleedrashed: To U.S. and European governments:instead of asking how can we promote democracy in the Egypt, just stop exporting the gas used against today

@KhaRouBology: To #USA .. SHUT UP .. Stop sending the f**kin chemical bombs to #Egypt. And then support our Revolution

Finally, it was reported that the shipment was released and headed to the Ministry of Interior:

من السويس : تراجعت ادارة الجمرك عن التحقيق مع موظفي المينا ..وتم تسليم 3 حاويات قنابل غاز فعلا الي وزارة الداخلية
@sayedfathy2006: From Suez: The port management decided not to investigate with the employees … and the 3 containers have already been handed to the Ministry of Interior now.

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Prince of Razor created a Storify covering this topic. Check it out for more reactions. Also, here is the transcript of the US State Dept comment on the tear gas used in Egypt.

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