Egyptian demonstrator being carried away in Cairo amid vigilante attacks on anti-military protests. Egypt is scheduled for national elections in May 2012., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Cairo protest death toll reaches 20
Wed May 2, 2012 1:51PM GMT
The death toll from an attack by unknown armed men on Egyptian protesters near the Defense Ministry building in Cairo has risen to 20.
Clashes erupted on Wednesday between assailants armed with rocks, clubs and firebombs and hundreds of protesters who had been camping out near the ministry for days, calling for an end to the military rule in the country.
Soldiers and police stopped the clashes six hours after they began. Two leading presidential candidates have suspended campaigning in protest.
The military council took power in the aftermath of the last February revolution in Egypt that overthrew Hosni Mubarak’s Western-backed regime.
The SCAF promised to step down after a six-month period and hand over power to a civilian government, a pledge it has so far failed to fulfill.
Angry demonstrators, who had camped in Tahrir Square for a week, decided on an impromptu march to the ministry of defense in east Cairo on Friday, where they resumed their camping in protest at the election committee's decision to ban two candidates from Islamic parties from running in the upcoming presidential election.
The protesters further condemned the Supreme Electoral Committee for allowing former Premier Ahmed Shafiq to enter the race.
Shafiq was disqualified last weekly by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces but the electoral committee restored his qualification the next day.
Egypt's electoral commission earlier disqualified the Muslim Brotherhood's prime candidate, Khairat al-Shater. Salafi nominee Hazem Abu Ismail was also banned from the May polls.
Egypt's election is scheduled to be held on May 23-24, and a run-off will follow on June 16-17 if necessary.