23 killed in Egyptian clashes as gov't tenders resignation

10:45, 22 November 2011
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Egyptian government has tendered its resignation...

The Egyptian government has tendered its resignation to the ruling military council as 23 people died and nearly 2,000 others were injured in the three days of clashes between protesters and police in Egypt, according to Xinhua.

The Egyptian cabinet submitted its resignation on Sunday, but it will perform its duties until the council accepts its request, a cabinet statement said on Monday.

Government spokesman Mohamed Hegazi said the government expressed sadness for the painful events. He urged citizens to keep self-restraint and restore stability to pave the way for the elections.

Egypt`s Nile TV channel said Monday evening that the military has not approved the cabinet`s resignation.

Clashes continued on Monday in Cairo for the third day as thousands of people gathered in Tahrir Square and a nearby street leading to the Interior Ministry building while the security forces fired tear gas to disperse the crowds in the street.

On Monday evening, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the square in Cairo, shouting slogans against the government and military rulers. Motorcycles were seen shuttling among the crowds to transport the injured.

Violence also erupted in other cities like Alexandria, Suez and Ismailia.

Among the top demands of protesters and some political parties are sacking the current government led by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, withdrawing the constitutional principles, setting a date for transferring power and hold presidential elections before mid- 2012.

"We just seek freedom, democracy and a civilian government," a protester, Mohmed Mahmoud, told Xinhua, at Tahrir Square.

The 26-year-old man said the security forces used violence against protesters and some members of the disbanded National Democratic Party might have hired thugs to stir the violence.

Walid Mohamed, a 25-year-old farmer from the southern province of Minya, said two of his friends died Sunday in the clashes in Tahrir Square.

The barefooted man, whose head was tapped with gauze due to rubber bullet wounds, said he lost his shoes when he was injured Sunday and sent to a hospital for treatment.

"We want Tantawi to leave and hand over power as soon as possible," he said, referring to the chief of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Mohamed said the protesters were giving the military rulers the last warning and more protests would follow if their demands were not met.

General Secretary of the Arab League Nabil el-Arabi expressed Monday his anxiety about the latest protests. He called for calm and self-restraint while asserting his support for the right of peaceful demonstration.

Arabi urged the political forces to go ahead with the democratic process on the basis of liberty, dignity, and social justice.

However, the April 6 movement, the Revolution Youth Coalition and some other powers, are calling for a "one-million-man" protest on Tuesday.

The ruling military council expressed regret for the clashes and assigned the government to take measures to avoid violent conflicts.

The military also said it would stick to the power transfer schedule and had no intention to delay it.

Any move to disrupt the democratic transition process would not be allowed, it stressed Sunday.

"The military forces were not in Tahrir Square but were assigned to secure the headquarters of the interior ministry," said assistant chief of the Central Military Region, Saeed Abbas, at a press conference in front of the interior ministry building near the square on Monday.

"The military council did not come to the square on Sunday to disperse protesters, but it came at a request of the Interior Minister Mansour el-Essawy," he added.

Abbas affirmed that if the protesters wanted any forces to protect them from bullying, the forces will be ready to protect them.

Meanwhile, Abbas asserted the military council`s commitment to Egypt`s road map according to which parliamentary elections will be held, a founding committee will be formed to draw a new constitution and power will eventually handed over to a civilian authority.

The fresh protests were sparked by a controversy over the constitutional principles, as the opposition parties did not agree with the interim government to grant more power to the military.

On Monday, the military council issued a decree to ban all those who corrupted political life in Egypt, state TV said. The ban was also a demand by many political forces in order to prevent the former regime remnants to regain power.

The current clashes, one of the worst since the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February, have raised concerns about the country`s parliamentary elections to be held on Nov. 28 as there has not yet been any sign of an end to the protests.

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