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Cairo Protesters Clash Again With Police

Protesters demanding an end to army rule clashed with police firing tear gas near Egypt’s parliament building on Saturday in a flare-up that cast another shadow over a parliamentary election billed as the nation’s first free vote in decades.

Protesters said one man, Ahmed Sayed, 21, died after being hit by a state security vehicle. His death was the first since a truce between police and demonstrators on Thursday calmed violence that had killed 41 people in Cairo and elsewhere.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry said the vehicle had hit him by accident.

Hundreds of demonstrators camped overnight in Cairo’s Tahrir Square ahead of the election, due to start on Monday in Cairo, Alexandria and some other areas.

The clash occurred after one group marched to parliament to protest against the army’s appointment of 78-year-old Kamal Ganzouri, a premier under Hosni Mubarak, as new prime minister.

“Down, down with the marshal,” a group chanted in the square, near tents set up on grassy patches. They were referring to Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the ruling army council and was Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years.

The military council said on Friday each stage of voting would be held over two days instead of one to give everyone the chance to vote. Voting starts on Monday but will not end until early January because of the election’s various stages.

Tahrir protesters have dismissed Ganzouri, premier from 1996 to 1999, as another face from the past whose appointment reflects the generals’ resistance to change.

“Why are they picking Ganzouri now? This shows that the army is unwilling to let go of any power by recycling a former ally. This government won’t have any powers, why else pick someone that is loyal to them?” asked protester Mohamed El Meligy, 20.

Tens of thousands gathered on Friday to demand that the army council leave power now to accelerate a transition to democracy.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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