» 11/21/2011, 00.00
Egypt, toll rises from Tahrir Square clashes: 30 dead and thousands injured
After a short pause the protests in Tahrir Square resumed this morning. Over 4 thousand participants. Some of them have thrown Molotov cocktails sparking the violent reaction of the military. The army accused of having fired on the crowd with live ammunition. Also the first victims in Alexandria, Egypt. Minister of Culture resigns in protest.
Cairo (AsiaNews) - 30 dead and over one thousand casualties is the latest toll from the battles between the army and protesters occupying Tahrir Square since November 19. This morning more than 4 thousand people mostly belonging to the Muslim parties took to the streets in protest against the Military Supreme Council. They accuse it of wanting to stay in power, despite repeated requests to resign ahead of elections next November 28. According to local sources Molotov cocktails were launched against a group of soldiers provoking the violence. Many others, however, maintain that the security forces lead are to blame for the eruption of clashes. The soldiers shot at eye level, not with rubber bullets, but live ammunition, an echo of what happened during the demonstration of the Coptic Christians of October 9, that left 27 dead and over 500 injured. Violent clashes also took place in Alexandria, where four people died. The Supreme Council denies any responsibility and defines those arrested and killed as insurgents. This has triggered the reaction of Emad Abu Ghazi Culture Minister, who resigned today.
Sami Ahmad, medical volunteer for the Tahrir Doctor Organization, says at least six people show injuries from live bullets fired from pistols and rifles, which prove the real intentions of the military. The doctor said a field hospital was set up in Mohamed Mahmoud Street, near Tahrir Square, where most of the fighting took place that did not even spare the small structure. Dozens of patients were intoxicated by the tear gas fired by police.
Eight months after the jasmine revolution, even the most pro-governmental newspapers begin to wonder what the future of the country will be. They look with fear at the Supreme Council once the guarantor of security which instead has become a repressor of popular dissent.
This morning, the newspaper Al-Ahram, considered closest to the current government, has published images of the fighting, titled "Politics hijacked by violence." Another newspaper, Al Shouruk, very quiet in recent months in the judgments on the government, gave space to the reactions of the presidential candidates, who have strongly criticized the exaggerated reaction of the security forces. The chief columnist at Fahmy Howeidy, which until a few days ago urged people to be patient and trust in the military, lashed out against the government. "No-one - read the article - expected a similar situation eight months after the fall of Mubarak. Until today, the Supreme Council had given the impression of wanting to protect the values of the revolution, but has now become the oppressor".
Meanwhile, the government released Bothaina Kamel, the only female candidate in the November 28 elections, detained by the police during the demonstrations yesterday. To quell the protests, the military may erase the constitutional bill, which would see them in power even after the vote, in an attempt to meet the demands of Islamic parties, the protagonists of these most recent protests (SC)
Egypt in the eye of the storm. Today the "march of a million" against the Military Council
The civilian government submits resignation, after police violence in Tahrir Square, but yet to be accepted. The opposition demands that the Supreme Council of the armed forces hands over authority to civilians.
Islamist parties take to the street against the military, threaten violence
Led by the Muslim Brotherhood, thousands protested today in Tahrir Square, hurling slogans against the military, which they accuse of claiming too much power. Pro-democracy parties boycott the event because of its confrontational nature. For the spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church, Islamists are using demonstrations as “a show of force”. Salafis disrupt memorial procession for massacred Copts, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. Thirty-two people are injured.
The military’s disturbing ‘no’ to international election observers
The vote could turn into a farce in order to maintain the status quo and favour the Muslim Brotherhood. Untrained staff from the courts and bureaucracy will monitor the vote. The Supreme Council’s new election law is unconvincing. Quotas for women are dropped.
Army slowing reforms to sink revolution
The economic crisis is killing the ideals of the Arab spring. The military are against democracy, and refuse to hand over former regime officials to the justice system. More than US$ 9.5 billion in aid are still lying unused in state coffers. Sources tell AsiaNews that they fear the rise of a theocratic regime with the tacit agreement of Western nations.
Tahrir Square flooded by people who want to continue the Jasmine Revolution
Nagui Diamian, a young Catholic Coptic leader, talks about the youth protest a year since the demonstrations that led to the fall of President Mubarak. Thousands have arrived from all over Egypt to demand real change for the country, which is still in the hands of the military. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists try to monopolise the situation following their electoral victory.
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