5 Killed and Hundreds Wounded as Egypt’s Demonstrations Turn Ugly

The ongoing protest by Egyptians has escalated to brutal clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and reports are now indicating that some 5 people have been killed while hundreds have been wounded. 

According to BBC a report, Egypt’s Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has since then apologised for the ongoing violence and deaths caused during the protests. 

Shafiq pledged to investigate the violence, calling it a “fatal error”. 

Pre-dawn gunfire lasted for two hours as anti-government demonstrators tried to stay in control of the square. 

The protesters are demanding that President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled for 30 years, step down immediately. 

Egypt’s Health Minister Ahmed Samih Farid said earlier that five people had died in the fighting, which began on Wednesday 2nd February, and 836 were injured – mostly as the result of stone throwing and attacks with metal rods and sticks. 

“This is a fatal error,” Mr Shafiq told the media. “When investigations reveal who is behind this crime and who allowed it to happen, I promise they will be held accountable and will be punished for what they did.”  

“There is no excuse whatsoever to attack peaceful protesters, and that is why I am apologising,” he said, urging the protesters “to go home to help end this crisis”. 

This media house understands that Mr Mubarak has said that he will serve out his current presidential term, which ends in September, but will not run for re-election. 

Meanwhile, an Egyptian opposition figure, Mohamed El Baradei and the Muslim Brotherhood, have rejected government calls for negotiations, saying Mr Mubarak must leave office first. 

The leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain issued a joint statement condemning the violence and calling for a political transition that “must start now”.

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