Egyptian protesters protect themselves behind makeshift shields during clashes with army troops near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011 (Photo: AP)
The statement of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) over the clampdown on protesters at the Cabinet building in downtown cairo has enraged the families of martyrs and several political forces, who released a joint statement denouncing “the military’s lies”.
The army’s attempt to disperse a sit-in in front of the Cabinet headquarters on Qasr El-Aini street early Friday, a short distance away from Tahrir square, left 10 dead and hundreds injured, according to the Ministry of Health.
Thousands of protesters consequently flocked to the street, engaging in consistent clashes with the army, who moved back and forth either side of a wall they built to contain the angry demonstrators.
SCAF said in a brief statement that it had the right to defend public properties, describing the latest incident as a “plot targeting Egypt”. It also published a video on YouTube showing young men demolishing the wall of the Cabinet headquarters.
The nearby Scientific Centre, which contains 200-year-old maps and historical manuscripts, was set on fire amid the clashes.
A handful of political forces, including 6 April Movement, Kefaya Movement and the Revolution Youth Coalition, as well as the fathers of two martyrs, hit out at SCAF.
“The lies of SCAF are very clear. They were the ones who ignited the problem after abducting one of the protesters and hitting him before attacking the rest of those who were staging a sit in,” they said in a joint statement.
“They set all tents on fire and their assaults continued until 12 were killed and around 5000 were injured.
“The youth managed to save some computers and documents in the burnt building and handed them to the army. All those incidents cannot be compared to the actions of the army who undressed women and checked their virginity.
“We are holding (SCAF head) Mohamed Hussein Tantawi responsible for all that,” the statement added.