About 100 people were injured Friday in Cairo in clashes between anti-government protesters and soldiers near the Defense Ministry HQ. Protesters stoned riot police, who also used a water cannon and tear gas.
The clashes turned into chases with military vehicles in many streets in the area of Abbassiya, near the Ministry, where gunfire was heard amid scenes of chaos.
The security services have stated that these were warning shots to try to disperse the crowd. The Ministry of Health has reported a provisional toll of 59 injured, five of whom were transported to a hospital, the others being treated on site.
A military source said soldiers, aided by police and residents of the neighborhood, have arrested 40 people described as “thugs”.
A curfew was imposed from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. “in Abbassiya area around the Ministry of Defence and the surrounding streets,” said Gen. Mukhtar al-Mulla, Member of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in a televised address. The SCAF had issued warnings as early as Thursday to it would stand firmly against any threat to buildings and military installations.
In the late afternoon, some protesters began heading to Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, the scene of another rally, which was calm.
A demonstration also took place in Alexandria, the second largest city and Islamist stronghold. All these rallies were supported by several pro-democracy movements and by Islamist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, the leading political force in the country.