Some 300 people have been reported injured in violent clashes in Cairo on 23 July after crowds of 5,000 protestors called for democracy and an end to the rule of the military council appointed after the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February.

As the protesters advanced on Tahir Square towards the headquarters of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in the Abbasiya district they were stopped by supporters of the interim government.

Although there were a large number of soldiers on the scene, allegedly they did not intervene until the fighting intensified, when they fired shots in the air to disperse the crowd. The ministry of health said 196 people were treated at the scene and about 100 people were taken to hospitals.

Demonstrations demanding a quick transition to elected government have become more frequent in cities across Egypt since early July. Transitional prime minister Essam Sharaf has promoted the use of dialogue, while the SCAF praised the military police for exercising restraint on 23 July, and accused the anti-government April 6 youth movement of inciting the protestors.

The parliamentary elections which had been scheduled for September have now been postponed until November. Many newly-created liberal parties fear that holding parliamentary elections this year will put them at a disadvantage, while more established forces such as the Muslim Brotherhood are keen for the elections to take place in 2011.

11 of the country

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