11/21/2011, 00.00
EGYPT

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)

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