Curfew Imposed in Cairo Following Deadly Clashes

Posted May 5th, 2012 at 12:10 am (UTC-5)
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Egypt's military rulers have imposed an overnight curfew around the Defense Ministry in Cairo after clashes between troops and protesters demanding an immediate end to military rule left one person dead and about 300 injured.

Troops fired tear gas and water cannons Friday at tens of thousands of demonstrators. More clashes erupted in the city late Friday.

More than 170 people were arrested in the unrest, which has taken place just weeks before landmark presidential elections.

The latest violence took place two days after fighting in Cairo left at least 11 people dead and more than 100 wounded, and prompted the two top Islamist candidates for the presidency to suspend their campaigns.

Egypt's presidential election is scheduled for May 23 and 24. The military rulers have vowed the elections will be fair.

The election will be the first since a popular uprising ousted longtime autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago.

The military council that took over from Mr. Mubarak has promised a democratic transition and transfer of power to an elected president by July 1. But Egypt's generals have faced strong domestic criticism for their handling of that process, which has been plagued by periodic eruptions of deadly violence, often surrounding anti-government protests in major cities.

Islamists are angered by the ruling military's decision to bar ultraconservative Islamist cleric Hazem Abu Ismail from standing in the presidential contest. Egypt's election commission disqualified Abu Ismail because his mother had taken joint U.S. citizenship.