CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian police and soldiers using batons and teargas have fought opponents of army rule in Cairo for a fourth day, taking the death toll since Friday to 13, according to medical sources.
Hundreds more have been wounded and scores detained in attempts to disperse protests in and around Cairo’s Tahrir Square, hub of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the use of “excessive” force against the protests, which have widened a rift among Egyptians over the role of the army and cast a shadow over the country’s first free election in decades.
An army general told a news conference that “evil forces” wanted to sow chaos and said soldiers had shown “self-restraint” despite provocation by those trying to burn down buildings and create discord between the army and the people.
The human rights watchdog Amnesty International called on arms suppliers to stop sending small arms and ammunition to Egypt’s military and security forces in the wake of the violent crackdown on protesters.
Reporters Without Borders said the army’s “systematic use of violence against media personnel”, was blocking access to information in and around the square.
Soldiers have been filmed using batons to beat protesters, many of whom have been hurling stones, even after they have fallen to the ground.
In one incident, a government building housing historic books has been set on fire.