Unknown assailants attack protesters outside Egypt defence ministry
Shortly before midnight on Saturday, unknown assailants attacked tens of protesters who had been staging a sit-in since late Friday night near the Ministry of Defence headquarters near Abbasiya Square, Ahram Online reported.
The protesters who included many supporters of the recently barred presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail as well as other activists were voicing their opposition to the decision by the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission to disqualify the Salafist preacher from the race for Egypt president which is set for May, and some demanded the military council hand power to a civilian administration.
The attackers used molotov cocktail bombs and cement bricks in their assault on protesters, and gunfire was also heard according to eyewitneses.
A number of protesters have been injured, and ambulances have rushed to the scene of the battle, but no fatalities have been reported.
Protesters and supporters have set up a field hospital to treat tens of injured comrades, and eyewitnesses say many of those treated, or were being transported to a nearby hospital, suffered from wounds caused by gun shots and rocks.
Activists posted pictures on the Facebook social media network showing a number of protesters who were allegedly shot by pellet bullets in the confrontations. They also posted pictures which show Abu-Ismail supporters allegedly arresting a person they described as one of the "thugs" who attacked the sit-in.
Eyewitnesses suggest that hundreds of new protesters have joined the ones under attack in the vicinity of Abbasiya, and the numbers of those resisting the assault could be as high as 2000.