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Egypt's military warns protesters against violence

Egypt's military warns protesters against violence

Egypt's military rulers sternly warned protesters on Tuesday against "harming public interests" as demonstrators continued to lay siege to Cairo's largest government building and threatened to expand their sit-in to other sites in the capital.
The warning came in a statement issued ahead of a planned rally by protesters demanding a wider purge of members of Hosni Mubarak's regime and bringing to justice police officers accused of killing protesters during Egypt's uprising.
Protesters have been camping out since Friday at Cairo's Tahrir Square, epicenter of the Jan. 25-Feb. 11 uprising. They vowed not to leave until their demands are met.
Earlier Tuesday, 30 men armed with knives and sticks stormed the protesters' tent camp at the square, wounding six, before they were forced out of the square by the protesters.
The military statement, read out on state television by Maj. Gen. Mohsen el-Fangari, was the strongest public warning to protesters by the ruling generals since they took over from Mubarak when he stepped down on Feb. 11.
It was delivered in a threatening tone that suggested the generals may be close to running out of patience with the flurry of protests, sit-ins and strikes engulfing the nation since the uprising broke out on Jan. 25.
Ominously, it called on Egyptians to "confront" any actions that prevent the return to normalcy. That appeared to be a thinly veiled warning to the protesters whose sit-in at Tahrir Square blocked traffic from the key plaza at the heart of Cairo. The protesters have threatened to expand their sit-in to the nearby Interior Ministry and the state TV building.
The military statement warned against any "deviation" of peaceful protests and demonstrations in a way that could "harm public interests" and against spreading rumors leading to discord.
However, it said the military's response to offenders would be within the boundaries of "legitimacy." He did not elaborate, but rights activists at home and abroad say at least 10,000 people have been tried by military tribunals for alleged security offenses since the army took over the streets from the police on Jan. 28.
The military also expressed its support for embattled Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. The prime minister has recently come under growing pressure from protesters to do more to purge the police, civil service and the judiciary of remnants of Mubarak's regime and to speed up trials of those accused of corruption or the use of deadly force against protesters. Nearly 900 people were killed in the 18-day uprising.
The military also pledged to produce binding guidelines for the selection of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution, allaying fears by many that Islamists likely to dominate parliamentary elections due in September would elect an assembly that would give the document an Islamic slant.


Updated : 2021-05-13 11:32 GMT+08:00