Cairo’s bloody saga: Protester crushed by army vehicle

A demonstrator was crushed to death by a military vehicle in Cairo on Saturday and another four injured when protesters tried to stop Kamal Al-Ganzouri, the new prime minister appointed by Egypt’s military regime, from entering a government building.

­RT’s correspondent Paula Slier reported from the Egyptian capital that eyewitnesses had told her they had seen a man being run over and killed by a military vehicle.

Reports on the victim’s identity are scanty and conflicting. What is known, however, is that  Egyptian officials have apologized to the dead person’s family.

"We issued a statement of apology for the death and expressed our condolences," Interior Ministry spokesman Gen. Marwan was quoted by CNN as saying.

The protests in Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square intensified on Friday as people gathering for prayers  got wind of the government’s decision to appoint a new prime minister.

Kamal Al-Ganzouri served as premier from 1996 to 1999 under the now-deposed president, Hosni Mubarak – a fact that was sufficient to infuriate protesters.

Hundreds had gathered to prevent him from entering the cabinet building and clashed with security forces who tried to disperse them. Three police troop carriers and an armored vehicle were chased off by rock-throwing protesters before security forces fired tear gas in return, Sky News reported.

Similar reports of security forces using tear gas have come from Alexandria, where protests continued outside the security building. The situation has caused leading human rights activists to start pointing fingers to try to bring international attention to the security forces’ use of what they say is an illegal substance.

­‘Civil salvation government’

­Cairo's Tahrir Square remains a sea of protesters this weekend, with tens of thousands having rallied overnight against Egypt's military rulers. More than 40 people have been killed since clashes broke out a week ago.

Sixteen Egyptian political groups issued a statement on Saturday saying that they have formed in Tahrir Square what they are calling “a civil salvation government”. They have named the former chief of the IAEA, Mohamed El-Baradei, as the head of this new government. El-Baradei is seen as a front-runner for the office of president, and as someone the army might approach with a request to become prime minister. A number of other high-profile people have been named by the new grouping  his potential deputies.

A somewhat unusual situation is currently developing in Cairo, with one government having been declared on Tahrir Square and another one having been formed by the country’s military. It is worth mentioning that the influential Muslim Brotherhood is not supporting Mohamed El-Baradei in any way, adding into an already intense political rivalry among the anti-government factions.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s military regime is pressing ahead with parliamentary elections on Monday and says it will hold the presidential poll by next June.

However, the government’s concessions have not been enough to satisfy the people, whose fundamental demand remains the same – that the present regime be removed from power immediately.

­“The Muslim Brotherhood that heads the protests in Egypt has been traditionally and historically a conservative force of change,” shares Hisham Saifeddin, a political analyst and editor with Beirut-based newspaper Al-Akhbar English. “They [the Muslim Brotherhood] really believe more in reforms than a radical change.”

That is why the brotherhood and its older leaders though twice before joining the protests on Tahrir Square. Anyway, they have not done it officially.

“They now believe that the best way to power is through elections – that’s why there is a sort of negotiated understanding between the military leadership and the Brotherhood – to get the election going at any cost,” argues Saifeddin.