300 Egyptian protesters to be detained

May 5, 2012 at 6:44 PM

CAIRO, May 5 (UPI) -- Military prosecutors have called for the detention of 300 protesters arrested after clashes with security forces in the Abbasiya district of Cairo.

Ahram Online reported a total of 329 demonstrators were arrested while protesting the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces at the Ministry of Defense building. After Friday's clashes, prosecutors ordered the detention of 300 demonstrators for 15 days pending further investigation. The 300 are accused of infringing on state institutions, halting traffic, using violence against members of the armed forces, illegal gathering and having breached a military area.

The Health Ministry confirmed after Friday's clashes two people were killed and 296 injured. The Wall Street Journal reported the ministry said one member of the security forces was killed.

Egypt's ruling Supreme Council had warned citizens Thursday not to protest in front of military facilities, asking them to stay in Tahrir Square.

The military said the arrests were provoked by attempts to break into the Ministry of Defense building. Activists countered by condemning the use of excessive violence, accusing officers of beating the demonstrators in custody.

An overnight curfew was imposed from 11 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.

The protests came less than three weeks before the first round of the presidential vote May 23, which will be followed by a runoff June 16.

Protesters have criticized the military's handling of the country's transition after the February 2011 ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, particularly the military's management of the presidential elections, the Journal said.

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