Protestors dispersed from Cairo defense ministry
Water cannons, rocks used by Egyptian military to quell demonstrators
Egyptian armed forces used water cannon and rocks to disperse
demonstrators in Cairo while they tried to reach the defense ministry.
Hundreds of troops guarding the ministry surged forward when protesters
began cutting through barbed wire used to seal off the ministry
Egyptian armed forces used water cannon and rocks to disperse demonstrators in Cairo while they tried to reach the defense ministry.
"Security forces responded with water canons. Protesters responded with rocks."
The protests have arrived after heightened tension when 11 people were killed in clashes that broke out earlier this week when unidentified assailants fired at protesters staging a sit-in outside the ministry of defense in Cairo.
Protesters have leafleted Cairo's Tahrir Square with banners reading, "Down with military rule."
"I'm telling the military council . enough bloodshed, enough fabricated crisis, enough unleashing of thugs on the public, enough destruction . we want them to transfer power to an independent transitional authority tomorrow," Akrami Darwish, a protester said.
The protests, to "protect the revolution and halt the bloodshed," were expected to draw people from all major political formations in Egypt, namely the Muslim Brotherhood, a section of the Salafist movement and the liberal activist movements.
Several pro-democracy movements report they would be joining the protests in Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
The ultra-conservative Salafi movement which has gained in popularity is also participating in the rallies. Its candidate, Hazem Abu Ismail, was disqualified because his mother had dual Egyptian-U.S. nationality.
"If anyone approaches its (installations), they should hold themselves responsible," General Mokhtar al-Mulla, a member of the ruling military council said.
Army troops have been accused of standing idly by near the clashes and not intervening until after the deaths of some of the protesters. The army denies that it was responsible for the bloodshed.
"Our hands are clean of Egyptian blood," Major General Mohammed al-Assar, a senior official in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said.
The ruling military council has tried to counter accusations that it might use the violence as a pretext to ignore its own deadline to relinquish control of the country.
"We say it frankly and clearly. The armed forces and their supreme council are committed to the handover of power on June 30," al-Assar said.
"We don't desire power. The Supreme Council (of the Armed Forces) is not a substitute for legitimacy in Egypt," he said.
He said the military would ensure the integrity and fairness of the presidential election.
"We are committed to fair elections [...] we don't have any [favored] candidates. All the candidates are respectable Egyptians."
The presidential election is scheduled for May 23 and 24 and a run off for June 16 and 17 if there is no outright winner in the first round.
The military has said it would hand over power to civilian rule before the end of June, or by May if there is a clear winner in the first round of elections.
It has been accused of bungling the transition to democratic rule over the past year, with the death of more than 100 people in political violence.
The ruling SCAF cracked down on pro-democracy protests and hauled more than 10,000 civilians to trial before military tribunals.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Cairo, protesters, water cannons, Egyptian army, civilians
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