CAIRO (Reuters) - Eleven people were killed in Cairo on Wednesday, medics said, when armed men attacked protesters demanding an end to army rule, prompting several candidates to suspend presidential campaigns and heightening doubts on the transition to democracy.
Leaders from Islamist and secular camps blamed the trouble on hired "thugs" doing the bidding of entrenched interests behind military rule and warned the generals not to use it as a pretext to delay their departure; the army reaffirmed its stated commitment to handing power to civilians by July.
Unidentified men armed with guns and batons attacked demonstrators who included hundreds of ultraconservative Salafi Islamists protesting at their candidate's exclusion from the ballot for a first-round presidential vote on May 23 and 24.
For hours after the dawn raid, the security forces seemed unable or unwilling to put an end to the violence. As fighting raged near the Defence Ministry in the Abbasiya district of central Cairo, Reuters reporters saw men carrying guns, even a sword, while protesters threw rocks, bottles and petrol bombs.
Only in the afternoon did riot police arrive in large numbers to break up the bloody melee and the clashes abated.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Egypt clashes over army rule leave up to 11 dead