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Third Day of Violence Rocks Cairo


Egyptian protesters protect themselves behind makeshift shields during clashes with army troops near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 18, 2011.

Egyptian protesters protect themselves behind makeshift shields during clashes with army troops near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Dec. 18, 2011.

Egyptian anti-government activists and security forces have engaged in a third day of street battles in Cairo. Protesters are demanding that the country's military rulers hand power to a civilian administration.

The anti-government activists threw rocks at security forces Sunday on a road leading from Tahrir Square to the seat of government. Egyptian soldiers set up concrete barriers on the road as riot police confronted the protesters. Egyptian security personnel in civilian clothes threw stones at the protesters from rooftops.

Egyptian state television said rocks and gasoline bombs thrown by rioters injured 24 police. There were no other reports of casualties.

On Sunday, the United Nations and the United States expressed concern about the violence in Egypt.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's office said he was "highly alarmed by the excessive use of force employed by the security forces against the protesters."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday she was deeply concerned about continuing violence in Egypt.

Authorities say 10 protesters were killed and at least 500 other people were hurt in the first two days of rioting. Military officials say 164 people have been detained.

The anti-government activists protesting in Cairo want the military council to step down immediately. They accuse the council of manipulating the transition process to retain permanent powers. But other Egyptians want a stop to months of street protests to allow the voting to proceed.

Egypt's main Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, said Sunday its party secured the biggest share of party-list votes in the second stage of the parliamentary election last week. It said unofficial results from the nine Egyptian provinces that voted on December 14 and 15 show the Freedom and Justice party won about 40 percent of the party-list ballots.

The Brotherhood's party and the ultra-conservative Islamist Al-Nur party dominated the first stage of the election in Cairo, Alexandria and seven other provinces earlier this month.

An Egyptian military council is overseeing the three-month phased parliamentary election, and has promised to hand power to an elected president by July

In another development Sunday, Egyptian authorities say saboteurs blew up part of a pipeline carrying natural gas to Israel and Jordan, the 10th such attack this year. The latest blast happened near the town of El-Arish on the northern coast of the Sinai Peninsula. No fire was reported because the pipeline was disabled following a previous attack last month. No group has claimed responsibility for the series of pipeline blasts.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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