Egypt: curfew imposed after violent Cairo protest


Thousands in Egypt took to the streets after the Friday noon prayers, days after bloody clashes near the defense ministry raised tensions ahead of landmark presidential elections.


Amro Marahgi

Egyptian authorities imposed an overnight curfew near the defense ministry in Cairo after it became a rallying point for a huge demonstration on Friday that turned violent, according to BBC News.

Thousands of Egyptians demonstrated against Egypt's ruling military in the capital, and a spin-off group marched to the ministry of defense in Abbasiyah, the scene of a deadly confrontation between protesters and unknown attackers earlier this week. 

Friday's clashes saw security forces firing tear gas and water cannons at protesters, leaving at least one person dead and many wounded, said the Associated Press

The circumstances surrounding the violence there was not immediately clear, according to The Guardian, and the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces ordered an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew in the neighborhood, said AP

Egyptian lawyers told AP that some 300 people were detained, while the army says 179 have been arrested, according to Agence-France Press.

More from GlobalPost: Thousands demonstrate in Cairo against Egypt's military rulers

GlobalPost's Egypt correspondent, Erin Cunningham, captured on video a ministry of defense barricade being torn down by protesters on Friday, tweeting that "clearly great deal of people willing to risk lives to protest military rule" as she reported from on the ground at the demonstration. 

The unrest comes as Egypt readies for historic presidential elections set for May 23-24. Cairo has also been the scene of growing tension between the country's transitional rulers and the young parliament voted in three months ago. 

The country has been locked in political turmoil since the overthrow of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak last February, and many there see the upcoming election as a critical opportunity for nation-building.

The vote paves the way for the writing of a new constitution and offers Egyptians their first free election in five millennia, according to Reuters