Egyptians Defy Truce Offers as Marchers Head for Tahrir
Tens of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators clashed with police throughout the day Wednesday, rejecting concessions by the ruling military council to hold presidential elections sooner than expected, and breaking a series of uneasy truces throughout the day.
By evening, the road connecting Tahrir Square to the Ministry of Interior was clotted with protesters, many wearing gas masks against the tear gas that hung in clouds over the area throughout the day. It was a departure from the flimsier surgical masks protesters had worn in the uprising that led to President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February.
Demonstrators blocked off avenues through the crowds for dozens of ambulances and private motorcycles to ferry wounded protesters through the crowd.
The head of Egypt’s ruling military council vowed to move up the timeline of presidential elections and suggested he was willing to hold a public referendum on the role of the country’s military. Matt Bradley has details on The News Hub.
A handful of clerics from Al Azhar University, one of the world’s oldest religious institutions and the seat of Sunni Muslim learning, waded into the fighting Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to negotiate a halt to the bloody five-day confrontation between protesters and security services. But clashes resumed again shortly after.
Egyptian health officials say at least 28 people have died since then in the conflict and more than 1,000 have been injured. A coalition of five Egyptian human-rights groups, in a report published Wednesday, estimated the death toll at closer to 40.