CAIRO, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Egypt's military rulers Sunday defended the use of force against anti-government protesters, saying they swore to protect the country's property.
Responding to rising criticism over the deaths of 10 protesters at the hands of military personnel since Friday, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces issued a statement Sunday defending military force, Ahram Online said.
"Based on the SCAF's belief in the importance of communicating with the Egyptian people and the youth of the revolution … don't we have the right to defend the property of the great Egyptian people, which we swore to protect," Ahram Online said, quoting a video statement released by the council. The council said military personnel exercised a high level of self-restraint when dealing with the protesters.
Tensions prevailed in Cairo Sunday where violent clashes erupted for the third day, Egyptian media said.
Protesters returned to Tahrir Square before dawn, hours after they were chased out by military forces, Israelnationalnews.com said. The protesters demonstrated against excessive force used against them.
The recent violence cast a shadow over the country's elections for the lower house of parliament with the final round expected to start Jan. 3, Abu Dhabi's daily, The National, said. Observers predict the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist al-Nour party will win 70 percent of the seats, the daily said.