Twenty people have been killed in clashes between protesters and assailants near the Defense Ministry premises in Cairo early Wednesday, Al Arabiya correspondent reported citing the Interior Ministry.
A military source said that army troops have been deployed to end the flaring clashes in Abbasiya neighborhood in central Cairo.
Meanwhile, Egyptian presidential candidate Abdul Muniem Abul Fotouh called off campaign events of the day over authorities' handling of the anti-army protests. His rival, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi also decided to suspend his campaign for 48 hours “in solidarity with the protesters.”
The military rulers had earlier called for an emergency meeting with representatives of parties and parliament members.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) announced their boycott to the planned meeting with the military council due to ongoing clashes in Cairo.
Scores of injuries have been received at the field hospital in al-Khalifa al-Maamoun Street, in Abbasiya neighborhood, Egypt’s al-Youm al-Sabea quoted Dr. Saleh Mohammed, a senior physician, as saying.
Unknown assailants attacked protesters who have been camping near the headquarters of the Defense Ministry for the past four days to voice anger at the disqualification of Salafist Hazem Salah Abu Ismail from the presidential race which is set for later this month.
The online edition of the state-run al-Ahram daily reported that the assailants attacked the protesters with cement-based bombs, stones, molotov bombs, birdshot guns and teargas canisters, according to eyewitness reports.
Protesters fought the attack with stones, and set up a second field hospital to treat the wounded, who included cases of broken limbs and suffocation due to inhaling teargas.
Meanwhile, a group of residents in the Abbasiya neighborhood in Cairo, where the sit-in and attacks against it have been taking place, marched on the area’s police station to call on the authorities to intervene to protect the peaceful protesters.
The first attack on Saturday reportedly left one protester dead and 119 others injured.
Meanwhile, al-Youm al-Sabea reported that Egypt’s Supreme Council for Armed Forces (SCAF) has called for an emergency meeting with representatives of different Egyptian parties and parliament members on Wednesday.
The meeting would reportedly focus on the latest developments regarding the panel designated to write the new constitution as well as the escalation and clashes near the Defense Ministry premises in Cairo.
The meeting is also expected to highlight the relationship between the government and the parliament, as the later threatened to withdraw the vote of confidence from the government of Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri.
(Translation and writing by Abeer Tayel)