Three killed, 255 injured in Cairo clashes

Three killed, 255 injured in Cairo clashes

At least three people were killed and 255 injured Friday as army and police forces clashed with anti-government protesters in central Cairo, near Tahrir Square, dpa reported.

The injured suffered gunshot wounds, broken bones and bruises, according to the Health Ministry, after a day of violence between rock and petrol bomb-throwing protesters and security forces armed with guns and tear gas.

Dozens of army personnel were seen on the top of the cabinet headquarters, attacking protesters from above using rocks.

Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri refused to comment on the clashes.

Eight members of the advisory council, set up earlier this month to assist the country's military rulers, resigned in protest of the violence against protesters.

"If what happens is intentional and premeditated, then its a plot I will not participate in. If it was unintentional, it means that we are facing desultory institutions that do not know how to manage a crisis. Thus I will not be able to guide their behaviour, whatever I do," political science professor Moataz Abdel Fatah wrote on his Facebook page as he announced his resignation.

Following their resignation, the rest of the 30-member council demanded that the ruling military council issue an apology, compensating the injured and launching an investigation in the clashes.

The clashes, triggered earlier on Friday by a reported attack on one protester, erupted after army forces removed scores of demonstrators who had been camping for weeks outside the cabinet offices.

Military police, guarding the building, denied they had attacked the protesters.

The angry protesters threw stones at the military police who shot in the air to disperse them, according to witnesses.

Dozens of protesters have camped since late November outside the cabinet headquarters to prevent the newly-appointed al-Ganzouri from entering the building.

They see al-Ganzouri, who served under former president Hosny Mubarak, as too close to the regime toppled in a popular revolt earlier this year.

Three parked cars and tents pitched by the campers caught fire during Friday's clashes, witnesses said.

A fire also broke out in a nearby governmental building. However, it was empty, as Friday is a holiday in Egypt.

Last month, 45 people were killed in clashes between security forces and anti-military protesters in central Cairo.

Mubarak was forced out of power on February 11 after hundreds of thousands of Egyptians camped in central Cairo's Tahrir Square for 18 days.

The military council, whose members were appointed by Mubarak, has been ruling the country since then.

Although credited for its support for the January 25 revolution, the military junta has been criticized for using force against pro-democracy demonstrators since then and setting a slow pace for reforms.

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