CAIRO: Dozens of Egyptian diplomats on Monday condemned deadly clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square that have left 24 people dead, calling for “an immediate end to attacks on peaceful protesters.”
In a statement, 140 diplomats from the foreign ministry and Egypt’s missions abroad called for “an end to the violence and attacks by security forces against peaceful protesters.”
“We, a group of Egyptian diplomats who joined the honorable January revolution (that toppled Hosni Mubarak) with our hearts, our minds and our bodies, are now witnessing an assault on the dignity of the people.”
The diplomats called on the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to hold presidential elections “no later that mid-2012,” when power would be transferred to a civilian authority.
They also urged the SCAF to “hold parliamentary elections on schedule and guarantee their security.” Legislative polls are scheduled for Nov. 28.
The diplomats’ statement came as clashes continued to rage in and around Tahrir Square — the epicenter of protests that toppled Mubarak in February —for a third day running.
Police and army forces have sporadically used batons, tear gas and birdshot to clear protesters from the area, kicking off a violent countdown to the country’s first elections since Mubarak was ousted.
The clashes first erupted on Saturday, a day after large crowds staged a peaceful anti-military mass rally at the square demanding the end of military rule and chanting for the downfall of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak’s long-time defense minister who now heads the SCAF.