Egypt interior minister denies police fired at protesters

Photo: Egypt interior minister denies police fired at protesters  / Arabic region

Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim on Tuesday defended his forces, saying that police did not use birdshot bullets at protesters during recent deadly clashes in central Cairo, dpa reported.

Ibrahim told the parliament that police forces only used tear gas to disperse protesters, saying his forces were protecting the ministry's building after they received information that people rallying planned to storm it.

"There are 273 members of police injured, some of them were by birdshot fire in the eyes," as he explained to members of parliament that security forces were attacked by stones, birdshots and petrol bombs.

At least 15 people have been killed in the capital Cairo and the sea port city of Suez since clashes erupted on Thursday following the deaths of 74 people in a football match in the northern city of Port Said last week.

Ibrahim's statement came after lawmaker Mohamed Abu Hamed, of the liberal bloc, said he found the shot in the street, and showed one of them in parliament.

Ibrahim spoke at a parliament session, after a fact-finding parliamentary commission said he bore "full responsibility" for the death of protesters.

Several protest groups accuse the military rulers of having orchestrated the football riot, and inciting chaos in the country, to prolong their grip on power. Others, including the influential Muslim Brotherhood, blame loyalists of ousted President Hosny Mubarak for the disaster.

Farouk Sultan, head of Supreme Committee for Presidential Elections, announced Monday that the committee will accept presidential nominations starting March 10, a decision seen as a move to appease protesters who demand the country's military rulers speed up the transfer of power.

The SCAF has been in charge of the country since Mubarak stepped down last February after a popular uprising.

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Tags: Egypt