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SCAF imposes curfew in Abbasiya after a bloody Friday; 373 injured; 170 interrogated

Egypt's ruling military council issued a curfew around defence ministry area from 11pm Friday - 7am Saturday; generals promise to punish 'instigators of violence and violators of army rules'; army questions 170

Ahram Online, Saturday 5 May 2012
El Molla
Snapshot of M-General El-Mulla from SCAF's broadcast statement announcing curfew onb 4 May, 2012 (El-Nihar TV)

The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) issued, in a televised statement Friday night, a curfew in the Abbasiya area between Friday 11pm and Saturday 7am, after clashes between protesters and military police which saw 373 injured outside of the Ministry of Defence in the eastern Cairo district.

The ruling military council said groups attacked the army outside of their headquarters earlier that afternoon. 

SCAF Major General Mukhtar El-Mulla began his speech on State TV by reiterating SCAF's warning made during a Thursday press conference, in which spokesmen cautioned the public against protesting at any military facility, in particular the army headquarters.

El-Mulla said that "irresponsible elements tried on Friday afternoon to bypass the security barricades around Ministry of Defence" and proceeded to "attack army personnel guarding the ministry with rocks and molotov cocktails."  In response, El-Mulla added, "the army was forced to push these elements back."

Consequently the Major General said that the ruling military council decided to enforce a curfew starting Friday evening and ending Saturday in the Abbasiya area and the surrounding streets leading to defence ministry. 

In addition, all legal procedures, El-Mulla said, will be taken against "anyone who participated or incited today's incidents in front of the ministry" or anyone who violates the rules laid down in the statement.

Egypt's military police fired water cannons at protesters 3:30pm Friday, shortly after thousands-strong marches reached the army headquarters, in protest of the ruling military council. Protesters responded with stones as clashes broke out. However, it is still unclear how the fighting started.

Meanwhile, the military prosecution started to interrogate over 170 who were detained for suspected involvement in the bloody clashes that took place in Abbasiya.

A military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, was quoted by Al-Ahram's Arabic site as saying the suspects had been arrested after assaulting military officers and soldiers deployed to secure the ministry's perimeter.

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