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New clash erupts in Cairo

Xinhua | Updated: 2011-12-17 08:07

CAIRO - At least two people were killed and 222 others injured in the latest clashes between protestors and security forces Friday in Cairo, said the Egyptian health ministry.

The clashes began early Friday morning and continued late Friday. The violence was triggered by rumors that one protester was arrested and beaten by the police, said Islam Khalid, one of the protesters in front of the cabinet building.

New clash erupts in Cairo 

A protester throws stones at army soldiers inside a cabinet building near a burning police booth during clashes in Cairo Dec 16, 2011. [Photo/Agencies] 

But there were different versions of the causes. The ruling military council said the cause of the clashes was that an officer was attacked by protestors.

Unidentified people hurled stones at protestors from the top of several nearby buildings. Protestors believed these people belonged to the security forces and fought back.

Several vehicles and the office building of the Roads and Bridges Authority were set ablaze. Hundreds of protestors threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the building attached to the Transport Ministry late Friday. A Xinhua reporter saw at the scene that firefighters were still struggling to put out the huge fire.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said in a statement that security personnel were not trying to break up the sit-in and were practicing uttermost self-restraint in handling the situation.

The council said those who hurled stones from rooftops were not members of the security forces.

The army will stop any attempt to attack any state buildings, it said. The military council denied the security forces used any real bullets or tear gas canisters in the clashes. Peaceful demonstrations are allowed to all but they should not harm public interests, it said.

The official news agency MENA earlier quoted an official as saying that the clashes were "designed" to drag the country into a state of chaos. One officer was injured by gunshots and transferred to a military hospital, the official said.

Head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Hussein Tantawi Friday ordered that all civilians injured in the clashes outside the cabinet building be treated in military hospitals.

Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri cancelled all his meetings Friday and was closely following the situation.

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