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Nine Dead, Hundreds Wounded in Egyptian Protests

Egyptian protests, February 2011

Photo Credit: Amr Farouq Mohammed Wikimedia Commons

At least nine people have been killed and over 300 wounded in two days of violent clashes between Egyptian security forces and protestors.

Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers taking orders from the incumbent Egyptian military council, beat and electric-shocked protestors to the ground on Saturday. They also burned down a protestors’ field hospital and erected a wall of concrete blocks to divide Tahrir Square from the area of the parliament and cabinet buildings. The clashes began late Thursday, after anti-military protestors demanding an end to military rule and the transfer of power to civilian authority were ousted from their camp near Tahrir square, with one protestor being beaten by military police.

Tahrir had once been the backdrop of an 18-day protest leading to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.  At that time, the military was seen as a partner in the revolution and a protector of the people.

The new protests against the military council and the council’s subsequent crackdown took place after the first rounds of democratic parliamentary elections saw large turnouts, particularly in favor of the militant Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Salafi/Wahhabi parties.

In November, over 40 people were killed in six days of crackdowns on demonstrators.

Kamal el-Ganzouri, who was appointed interim prime minister following the unseating of Mubarak by the military, addressed the nation on Monday, denying that forces had shot anyone or used violence, and accusing some protestors of having less-than-pure intentions in their activism.

In the meantime, protestors contended that soldiers were indeed firing on them, as well as confiscating cameras and other journalistic equipment, and videos being released showed military police pointing guns and protestors and hitting them.  The military council on Friday issued a statement claiming soldiers were acting self-defense against lawless insurgents armed with Molotov cocktails and rocks.

The Muslim Brotherhood condemned the crackdown, saying the military council had betrayed the Egyptian people’s trust, disrupting the democratic process, instigating unrest, and destabilizing the handover of power.

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

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