Sunday, 20 November 2011

2 dead, 800 injured as protests spread to more Egyptian cities

CAIRO: The violent clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police in Cairo and three other Egyptian cities left two people dead and about 800 others wounded, as protesters tried to occupy the iconic Tahrir Square to stage a sit-in demanding transfer of power to a civilian government.

Security forces fired rubber bullets and used tear gas to disperse the angry protesters, who broke chunks of cement from pavements and hurled them at the riot police at the Tahrir Square, in scenes reminiscent of the 18-day long uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak in February.

At least one person was killed in Cairo in overnight clashes, according to health officials. State news agency MENA reported that another 25-year-old protester was killed after being hit by a rubber bullet in Alexandria.

Egyptian state television said 750 people had been injured in the clashes in Cairo, as demonstrations spread to Alexandria, Aswan and Suez.

Fourty of the wounded were police officers and that 18 "troublemakers" had been arrested, the Al Arabiya news reported quoting state tv.

Thousands of protesters had gathered at the Tahrir Square yesterday to denounce the ruling military council, which has been heavily criticised for delay in political reforms and transition to civilian rule.

The protesters used the social media to appeal to the people to take over the square "to protect their fellow protesters" amid the crackdown on the people assembled in the heart of the capital.

Protests also took place in other cities including Aswan in the south, Alexandria and Suez on the Red Sea, where 10 people including seven demonstrators were injured, a security official said.

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