Middle East

Clashes erupt in Cairo as Egyptian protests continue

Sporadic clashes have erupted between police and protesters in Cairo as rallies continue against the military two days before polls begin.

At least one protester died after being run over by an army vehicle, reports say - the first fatality since a truce on Thursday calmed violence.

On Friday, tens of thousands occupied Tahrir Square, as the nominated prime minister asked to be given a chance.

Meanwhile, the country's military chief has met key presidential candidates.

Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi held talks with leading political figures Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa to discuss the political crisis, according to the official Mena news agency.

The recent unrest has cast a shadow over elections, which are due to begin on Monday.

The polls, which take place over three months, are the first since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in February.

'Molotov cocktails'

Clashes broke out as protesters tried to block an entrance to a government building to prevent Prime Minister-designate Kamal Ganzouri gaining access.

The Interior Ministry said an army vehicle had accidentally hit 21-year-old Ahmed Sayed after the driver panicked during a confrontation with protesters.

The account was backed by a protester who spoke to AFP news agency after witnessing the incident.

"It wasn't deliberate. They (police) were retreating quickly because (protesters) were throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at them," he told AFP.

Hundreds of demonstrators remain in the city's Tahrir Square, calling for military rule to end before parliamentary elections are held.

Protesters fear the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) - which is overseeing the transition to democratic rule - is trying to retain power.

A counter-rally is also being held, with protesters expressing support for the country's interim military rulers and chanting that they represent the real Egypt.

In a TV address on Friday, Mr Ganzouri appealed to Egyptians to "give him a chance".

Mr Ganzouri - a former primer minister appointed by the military on Thursday - told Egyptians that he would not have accepted his post if he believed Field Marshal Tantawi wanted to stay.

He promised to form an all-inclusive cabinet to serve the people of Egypt, but said it would not be done until after elections.

Until then, he said former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, who resigned following the violence earlier this week, would remain in office.

However, Mr ElBaradei said he would be prepared to be an interim prime minister, and withdraw his run for the presidency, if asked by the military leaders.

A statement from his office said he was "willing to respond to the demands of the youth of the revolution and the political forces calling for a national salvation government that represents all the national forces".

More than 40 people were killed earlier this week as the security forces tried to break up the massive protests, leading to the worst violence since the fall of Mubarak.

Monday marks mark the first step of an election timetable which lasts until March 2012 and covers two houses of parliament.

The elections will take place in stages around the country - each stage has reportedly been extended to two days.

Are you in Egypt? Are you planning to take part in the mass rallies later? What do you think about ex-Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri? Send us your comments and experiences.

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