Cautious calm in Cairo, as junta pressed on power handover
A fragile truce prevailed Sunday in central Cairo after four days of sporadic street battles between anti-military protesters and security forces, said witnesses, dpa reported.
Seven people have been killed in the clashes since they erupted on Thursday, according to government figures.
The two sides accepted the truce negotiated by clergymen and lawmakers to end clashes near the Interior Ministry headquarters, said the witnesses.
Thousands of protesters, mainly football fans, had rallied against the police guarding the Interior Ministry headquarters, attempting to seize the building.
They were infuriated by the deaths of 74 people in football violence that followed a match in the northern city of Port Said on Wednesday.
The protesters blame the country's military junta and police for the deaths.
Earlier on Sunday, unknown arsonists torched a government building adjacent to the Interior Ministry headquarters, reported state television.
Footage on the broadcaster showed flames of fire rising from the building, housing tax agency offices.
The fire, the second to hit a government building in three days, was put out, according to the report. No casualties were reported.
Several political groups are accusing the military of having orchestrated Egypt's worst-ever football riot and inciting chaos in the country allegedly to prolong its stay in power.
The junta, that has been ruling Egypt since a popular revolt forced former president Hosny Mubarak to step down last February, has pledged to transfer power to an elected civilian administration by July.
An advisory council set up by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Saturday recommended February 23 as the opening date for the registration of candidates for presidential elections.
The SCAF had initially proposed registration by mid-April for the elections due to take place in mid-June.
The advisory council also proposed the detention of all leading figures of Mubarak's now-disbanded National Democratic Party as well as senior Interior Ministry officials appointed under Mubarak.
Activists have been calling for collective acts of civil disobedience to pressure the military to speed up the transfer of power.