300 arrested, curfew imposed after Cairo clashes
CAIRO EGYPT’S military on Saturday ordered 300 people detained after deadly clashes between troops and anti-army protesters in Cairo and imposed a new curfew, as tensions spiral ahead of a key presidential poll.
The arrests were announced as the country’s ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi attended an unprecedented public funeral for a soldier killed in the clashes.
Military prosecutors said the 300, including nine journalists, “will be held for 15 days pending investigation” into clashes in the Abbassiya district on Friday that left two people including a soldier dead and at least 300 injured.
A security official confirmed the number and said more arrests could follow.
The military also imposed an overnight curfew around the defence ministry for a second successive night, from 2100 GMT on Saturday until 0400 GMT on Sunday, the source said.
After hours of questioning overnight, those held were accused of assaulting army officers and soldiers, assembling in a military zone and preventing members of the armed forces from carrying out their work, the source said.
They all denied the charges.
The clashes erupted just three weeks ahead of Egypt’s first presidential election since a popular uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak last year.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has vowed to hand power to civilian rule when a president is elected. But protesters believe the army wants to maintain a degree of power even after the elections and fear the polls will rigged in favour of a pro-military candidate.