Monday, July 25, 2011

Egypt clashes increase tensions with military

Tensions between pro-democracy groups in Egypt and the ruling military council have risen sharply after weekend violence in which knife-wielding supporters of the council set on thousands of activists determined to march on the defence ministry.

Analysts and activists say the clashes, which lasted for several hours on Saturday night and injured scores of people, mark a deterioration in a relationship that has come under mounting strain in recent weeks.

Several thousand activists from a spectrum of political groups had organised the march to press the military council to speed up trials of officials accused of killing 850 demonstrators during the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak, former president, this year.

But a day before the march, the military accused April 6, one of the youth groups that launched the uprising against Mr Mubarak, of seeking to turn people against the army. In language reminiscent of the Mubarak regime, a senior army general was quoted as saying the group had received training abroad to subvert the state.

The council has also urged “honourable Egyptians” to confront actions that disrupt the return to normal life.