Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi (Photo: AP)
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said in a televised statement Monday afternoon that Sunday’s clashes between protesters and military forces in around the TV building at Maspero in downtown Cairo were instigated by what it called unknown culprits who “turned a peaceful march violent”.
“The council will never respond to any attempts to precipitate a fall out between the army and people,” said the statement, which was aired on national TV.
The SCAF offered condolences to the families of those killed in the turmoil, saying Essam Sharaf’s cabinet has been commissioned to form a fact-finding committee which would investigate the incident.
The ruling military council reiterated that it remains fully committed to its previously roadmap for a peaceful transition of power.
Last night, thousands of Copts and Muslim supporters, who were peacefully protesting against recent church burnings in Upper Egypt and for the civil rights of Christians, ended up caught in a bloody web of violence as army, security forces and armed vigilantes attacked them. Protesters claimed that armed infiltrators used them as a human shield to attack the military.
Last night's bloody clashes left at least 24 dead – 21 of them protesters and three soldiers – and hundreds injured.