Protesters killed in clashes with thugs in Egypt demo
At least 11 people died and more than were 160 were wounded near Egypt's Defence Ministry yesterday when armed men assaulted demonstrators calling for an end to army rule.
The unidentified thugs, carrying guns or batons, attacked protesters, including hundreds of ultraconservative Salafi Islamists protesting at the exclusion of their candidate from this month’s elections.
Security and medical workers gave a toll of 11 dead and more than 160 wounded in the clashes in central Cairo’s Abbasiya district. The fighting raged on unabated through the morning, but subsided in the afternoon.
“Where is the army? Why are they not stopping these people?” cried a bystander as the violence persisted.
Shots rang out as young men dashed back and forth across debris-scattered streets, hurling rocks, glass and petrol bombs.
“Down, down with military rule,” yelled protesters.
The army sent in extra troops, but pledged in a statement not to disperse peaceful demonstrators.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said the violence signalled an attempt to “obstruct the handover of power” and its presidential candidate, Mohamed Mursi, said he would not campaign for two days to mourn the dead.
Another leading candidate, Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, suspended campaigning indefinitely in protest at the way the authorities had handled the situation, a spokesman said.
Official campaigning for the presidential vote began this week under a cloud, with the Brotherhood demanding that the army sack the cabinet of Prime Minister Kamal Al Ganzouri.
Parliament had already suspended its work, saying the government was failing to respect its decisions and ministers had repeatedly failed to show up for parliamentary hearings.