9 More Dead as Egyptians Demand Military Cede Power

Posted November 20th, 2011 at 8:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Egyptian medics said Sunday a police and army assault on anti-government protesters in Cairo killed at least nine people, raising the death toll in two days of unrest to at least 11.

Police used batons and tear gas to charge thousands of anti-government protesters trying to re-establish a protest camp in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Many are angry that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power from ousted President Hosni Mubarak, has set guidelines for a new constitution that would keep some military affairs beyond civilian control. Others have criticized the military leadership for putting civilian dissidents on trial in military courts.

The confrontations in Cairo and other cities are taking place just eight days before staggered parliamentary elections are set to begin on November 28. The violence is some of the worst since Mr. Mubarak's overthrow in February.

The government held an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the situation. Authorities said elections would go ahead as planned. But some demonstrators fear the military rulers deliberately provoked the violence so that they could postpone the vote and extend their tenure.

The violence began Saturday, as police moved into Tahrir Square to remove hundreds of people camped out after a mass anti-government protest Friday. The crackdown has drawn thousands of people from across the capital to help counter the offensive.

Our VOA correspondent said demonstrators in the square ran for cover Sunday, as police fired American-made tear gas canisters to try to disperse them. Several thousand anti-government protesters managed to remain in control of the square, some camping out in tents and others blocking traffic.

More anti-government activists tried to march toward the site, but police pushed them back.

The VOA correspondent and her team were attacked by an angry mob Sunday while filming police marching toward Tahrir Square. Protesters tried to take VOA cameras, and then beat on the car and followed it by motorcycle as our team tried to leave. They were not injured.