Egyptian army storms Tahrir square, 8 killed
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Cairo, Dec 17: Egyptian army personnel today stormed the iconic Tahrir square which has been the epicentre of anti-military protests here, leaving at least eight people dead, including a top cleric and more than 300 injured in two days of post-election clashes.
The violence erupted in Cairo yesterday, a day after the second phase of polls closed, when soldiers tried to disperse a sit-in by hundreds of protesters in front of the Cabinet building, media reports said.
The renewed clashes today came after eight people were killed and more than 300 others injured. Soldiers also stormed an anti-military protest camp outside the parliament building, a short distance from Tahrir, Arab channel Al Jazeera reported.
Several tents in the Tahrir square that had been used by protesters had been also set alight in the the bloodiest violence in weeks that threatens to undermine the credibility of first Parliamentary polls in post-Mubarak era, the report said.
It said troops reportedly fired into the air as they pushed into the square, while thick black smoke filled the air following the eruption of a fire in the area around Egypt's upper house of parliament.
The demonstrators want an immediate handover to civilian rule in Egypt. They object to the appointment of Kamal Ganzuri as the new Egyptian Prime Minister last month by the ruling military.
Ganzuri, who first served as premier under Mubarak from 1996 to 1999, accused protesters of being counter- revolutionaries, a reference to the uprising in February that toppled President Mubarak.
"Those who are in Tahrir Square (epicentre of the revolution that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in February) are not the youth of the revolution," Ganzuri told a press conference.
"This is not a revolution, but a counter-revolution," he was quoted as saying by BBC.
The anti-government activists have been holding a sit-in protest in the heart of the Egyptian capital since the appointment Ganzouri, which followed mass protests last month in which nearly 40 people were killed.
Head of the make-shift hospital Mouhamad al-Helali said the military police had also burnt down the make-shift hospital at Tahrir square and put all other tents on fire.
Smoke was seen billowing from afar but it was not clear which buildings were on fire since the bloc also includes the upper and lower houses of parliament, the Ministry of Health and the Egyptian Scientific Association.
Images on social media, including facebook and twitter, show officers in uniform beating protesters. It also showed army officers holding batons and dragging protesters across the street.
In a statement, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the ruling military council that is governing country after president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February, denied that troops had tried to break up the sit-in.
It blamed the violence on the protesters who have been camping in front of the building for three weeks demanding an end to the military rule.
The statement claimed that the clashes were part of a conspiracy to derail the country's ongoing election process. Sources among the protesters said as many as six were killed today in addition to the eight others killed yesterday.
Sheikh Emad Effat, a top cleric at Dar Al-Iftah, the body that issues Islamic fatwas or edicts, was among the eight people killed.
The deaths were caused by bullets, rights activists were quoted as saying by Daily News Egypt, but the type of bullets used is still undetermined.
The clashes were the bloodiest since five days of protests last month that had killed over 40 people.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Cairo, Dec 17: Egyptian army personnel today stormed the iconic Tahrir square which has been the epicentre of anti-military protests here, leaving at least eight people dead, including a top cleric and More