CAIRO: Eight were killed and over 300 were injured in a crackdown on the cabinet sit-in, the ministry of health said Saturday.
A crackdown on protesters camped outside the cabinet headquarters turned into an exchange of rock throwing and petrol bombs. By noon Saturday, the military had stormed Tahrir Square twice.
Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzoury stressed that security only protected the parliament building against what he describes as attacks by the protesters. No police or army used violence against peaceful protesters, he said.
He confirmed over 300 were injured, in addition to 30 security personnel.
Field doctors said at least 500 were injured. They said they treated wounds caused by live ammo. Ganzoury said live ammo was found in 13 cases but insisted that security personnel didn’t fire.
He said a third party was responsible for the killings.
The clashes that started before dawn Friday continued on Saturday. Men in civilian clothes and military uniforms were hurling rocks and furniture at protesters from the rooftops of the parliament building, on the same street as the cabinet.
Troops on the ground beat and arrested protesters as clashes raged on throughout Friday.
On Saturday morning, military forces pushed protesters out of the Qasr Al-Aini Street and Tahrir Square. Protesters said they were chased down the side streets.
The armed forces retreated to the Qasr Al-Aini Street and barricaded it with barbed wire. Protesters, belted by glass and rocks from the rooftops of the government buildings, hurled rocks at the troops blocking the street.
By the noon call of prayer, military forces stormed Tahrir for the second time, minutes after Ganzoury’s speech. Journalists stationed in a building overlooking Tahrir Square said their cameras were confiscated. Military personnel threw other cameras off the balconies of the same building.
Mohamed Mostafa, member of the committee for the martyrs and injured of the revolution in the Egyptian Revolutionary Coalition, said two doctors were arrested early in the morning.
Protesters have been camped outside the cabinet since Nov. 25 to protest the appointment of Ganzoury. The premier said his government works to save the revolution.
A soldier points a gun at a protester in Tahrir Square. (Daily News Egypt Photo/Mostafa Shehstawy)