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Army denies use of live fire on Maspero protesters

Army presents its version of Sunday's deadly Maspero clashes, denies having used live ammo on demonstrators

Nada Hussein Rashwan, MENA, Wednesday 12 Oct 2011
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Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency (MENA) on Wednesday cited a military source as saying that the army had buried the military personnel killed during Sunday’s clashes in Cairo’s Maspero district between the army and Coptic Christian demonstrators.

The source also reportedly stated that Egypt’s military had refrained from revealing the number of military casualties so as to avoid “demoralising” the armed forces. The military did not hold official military funerals for the slain soldiers, the source added, so as not to aggravate already-tense public sentiments over the incident.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has governed the country since the February ouster of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak, held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to give its account of the Maspero incident.

At the conference, which was not broadcast on live television but was attended by members of the Egyptian and international media, SCAF member Adel Emara insisted that the army did not use live ammunition against protesters. SCAF officials also produced video footage that they said supported this assertion.

Mainstream and social media, meanwhile, continue to offer conflicting reports as to the precise causes of Sunday’s violent clashes, which left at least 26 dead and 300 injured.

Video footage has since appeared online showing army vehicles ploughing through crowds of demonstrators. Several eyewitnesses, meanwhile, have claimed that gunshots were fired during the protest.

On Tuesday, the Egyptian Cabinet announced that it had formed a fact-finding committee to investigate the incident.

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