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Egyptian generals say elections will go on despite violence

CAIRO — Egypt's beleaguered military council said Thursday that it would press ahead with a parliamentary election Monday, though it acknowledged "many violations" by security forces, whose efforts to clear out protesters backfired and triggered a wider uprising just days before the vote.

Several Egyptian politicians had called for a two-week delay to restore calm to the capital and other cities after clashes between protesters and security forces in which at least 38 people were killed and about 2,700 others were wounded.

Thousands of protesters who remained in downtown Cairo's Tahrir Square said they would continue with plans for a rally today to demand that the military rulers cede power immediately to a civilian transitional authority. Many of them said they would boycott an election overseen by generals who either allowed security forces to attack or were powerless to stop them.

The military council repeatedly has refused to either step aside or to delay the vote, sticking to plans for a handover in mid-2012 after a presidential elections Abdelmoez Ibrahim, head of Egypt's electoral commission, said timely elections were the "lifeline that will get us through this phase."

The council also pledged to form a new caretaker government — which presumably still would fall under military authority — by Monday, when Egyptians will vote in the first election since President Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February.

Late Thursday, news reports said, the council appointed a new interim prime minister: Kamal el Ganzoury, 78, who was prime minister from 1996 to 1999.

Writer alleges abuse: Egyptian-born U.S. writer Mona Eltahawy said local police sexually assaulted, beat and blindfolded her after she was detained Thursday near Tahrir Square, leaving her left arm and right hand broken. Eltahawy, 44, describes herself as a liberal Muslim and is known as a scathing critic of the former Egyptian regime. She was detained outside the Interior Ministry and released 12 hours later.

Egyptian generals say elections will go on despite violence 11/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, November 24, 2011 10:46pm]
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