The army took to the streets of downtown Cairo to secure the Ministry of Interior and not to break the Tahrir sit-in, an army official claimed on Monday.
General Said Abbas, assistant head of the Central Military Zone, said the armed forces were only deployed after Minister of Interior Mansour El-Essawy asked them for assistance to protect the ministry as clashes in Tahrir Square and on Mohamed Mahmoud Street intensified.
Abbas, speaking at a press conference in front of the ministry, stressed protests are allowed as long as they do not negatively impact Egypt’s public interest.
“Tahrir Square is a lively area with many companies that lose a lot of money when the square is closed,” he said.
The stock market lost LE7 billion as a result of the recent clashes, he added.
He stressed the armed forces approve of sit-ins and even offered to send unarmed troops to protect the protesters.
“The protesters who remain in the square will not be attacked by either the military or civil police,” Abbas said. “The armed forces will only guard the Ministry of Interior.”