New clashes rock Egypt

2011-12-17 14:31

kalahari.com

Cairo - Soldiers baton-charged demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday a day after street clashes killed eight people and wounded more than 300, marring the first free election most Egyptians can remember.

The violence highlights the tensions in Egypt 10 months after a popular revolt toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The army generals who replaced him have angered some Egyptians by seeming reluctant to give up power. Others back the military as a force for badly needed stability during a transition to democracy.

Protesters fled into side streets to escape the troops in riot gear, who grabbed people and battered them repeatedly even after they had been beaten to the ground, a Reuters journalist said. Shots were fired in the air.

Television footage showed soldiers pulling down protester tents and setting them on fire.

The army assault followed skirmishes between protesters and troops. Some protesters had been throwing stones near fire brigade vehicles trying to douse a burning building.

The bloodshed follows unrest in which 42 people were killed in the week before Nov. 28, the start of a phased parliamentary poll that is empowering Islamist parties repressed during the 30-year Mubarak era, when elections were routinely rigged.

Voting in the second round of a tortuous election process seen as part of a promised transition from army to civilian rule by July passed off peacefully on Wednesday and Thursday.

Friday's clashes pitted thousands of demonstrators against soldiers and plainclothes men who were seen at one point hurling rocks from the roof of a parliament building.

The army-appointed prime minister, Kamal al-Ganzouri, blamed the violence on protesters he accused of attacking the cabinet and parliament buildings that security forces had to defend.

"I still say we will not confront any peaceful protests with any kind of violence even by words," he said on state television in his first public comments on the disturbances.

"I confirm that the army has not used gunfire," he said, reiterating a military statement on Friday.

Ganzouri, 78, said eight people had been killed and 125 of the 303 wounded were in hospital. Thirty security guards outside parliament had been hurt and 18 people had gunshot wounds.

State media gave conflicting accounts of what sparked the violence. State media cited some people saying a young man went into the parliament compound to retrieve a miskicked football, but was harasssed and beaten by police and parliamentary guards.

But they also cited others who said the young man had prompted scuffles by trying to set up camp in the compound.

Among the dead was a senior official of Egypt's Dar al-Iftah, the body that issues Islamic fatwas (edicts).

A new civilian advisory council set up to offer policy guidance to the generals said it would resign if its recommendations on how to solve the crisis were not heeded.

The council announced that it would suspend its meetings until the violence stops. It also asked the army to release all those detained in the trouble and called for prosecution of those responsible and compensation for the victims.

Islamist and liberal politicians decried the army's tactics.

The Muslim Brotherhood, whose party list is leading the election, said in a statement the military must make "a clear and quick apology for the crime that has been committed".

Pro-democracy activists have accused the army of trying to clear a sit-in outside the cabinet office that a small number of protesters has maintained since the November violence.

"Even if the sit-in was not legal, should it be dispersed with such brutality and barbarity?" asked Mohamed ElBaradei, a presidential candidate and former UN nuclear watchdog head.

The army council is in charge until a presidential election in June, but parliament will have a popular mandate that the military will find hard to ignore as it oversees the transition.

"The council wants to spoil the elections. They don't want a parliament that has popular legitimacy, unlike them, and would challenge their authority," said Shadi Fawzy, a pro-democracy activist. "I don't believe they will hand over power in June."

Additional reporting by Ashraf Fahim and Edmund Blair; Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Angus MacSwa

 

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Cape Town - 07:38 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.