News / Middle East

9 Killed in Two Days of Clashes in Egypt

Egyptian protesters run as they are chased by army soldiers over the Asr el-Nile bridge leading out of Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011.
Egyptian protesters run as they are chased by army soldiers over the Asr el-Nile bridge leading out of Tahrir Square, in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011.

Violent clashes between security forces and protesters have rocked Egypt for a second day, leaving at least nine people dead and more than 300 wounded.

Soldiers chased and beat rock-throwing protesters who tried to gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday.

A VOA reporter saw police using metal clubs against demonstrators trying to assemble to shout their demands for an end to military rule. In some cases, protesters erected barricades to protect themselves.

The violence follows Egypt's second round of voting in parliamentary elections, the country's first polling since President Hosni Mubarak's departure in February.

The state-run MENA news agency says the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the ultraconservative al-Nour Salafi party appear to have captured the most seats in Monday and Tuesday's polling.  The two Islamist parties dominated the first round of voting in late November.

Egypt's ruling military council has said it will only step down once a president has been elected by the end of June, following a protracted series of phased parliamentary polls.

In a televised address, Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri said the current demonstrations were not linked the revolution that resulted in Mr. Mubarak's resignation.

"I am calling for all the political powers to protect Egypt," said the prime minister. "What is happening today is not a part of the revolution, rather it is a turning against the revolution."

He also said there were some groups that did not want to see Egypt succeed. However, members of a civilian advisory panel created by the military this month as a gesture to protesters have suspended their work and demanded an immediate end to violence against the demonstrators.  

Also Saturday, a huge crowd of mourners turned out for the funeral of an Islamic cleric who died from injuries sustained in Friday's unrest.

The French news agency reports France's Foreign Ministry has denounced what it calls Egypt's excessive use of force against protesters.  The ministry, on Saturday, called for calm and a respect of human rights.

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

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