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Several dead in Cairo as protesters are attacked

Khaled Desouki / AFP - Getty Images

Egyptian anti-military protesters evacuate a demonstrator after he was wounded by rubber bullets during clashes in the Abbassiya district of Cairo on May 2. They wereattacked at an anti-military protest near the defence ministry in Cairo and several people were killed, officials said, in the politically tense run-up to the first post-uprising presidential election.

AP

Protesters clash with Egyptian military outside the Defense Ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, May 2. Suspected supporters of Egypt's military rulers attacked predominantly Islamist anti-government protesters outside the Defense Ministry in Cairo Wednesday, setting off clashes that left more than ten people dead as political tensions rise three weeks before crucial presidential elections.

Asmaa Waguih / Reuters

Islamist protesters and their supporters run during clashes with armed "thugs" after an attack on protesters late Tuesday night, in Cairo May 2. Eleven people were confirmed dead after thugs attacked the protesters demanding an end to military rule after their candidate was barred from this month's presidential election.

Asmaa Waguih / Reuters

Islamist protesters and their supporters clash with armed "thugs", after an attack on protesters late Tuesday night, in Cairo May 2. Eleven people were confirmed dead after thugs attacked the protesters demanding an end to military rule after their candidate was barred from this month's presidential election.

Khaled Desouki / AFP - Getty Images

An Egyptian man and an armed private security guard, right, clash with anti-military protesters in the Abbassiya district of Cairo on May 2. Thugs attacked an anti-military protest near the defence ministry in Cairo and at least 12 people were killed, officials said, in the politically tense run-up to the first post-uprising presidential election.

AFP - Getty Images

Egyptian protesters beat a man as he tries to escape on the back of a motorcycle after he was accused of attacking demonstrators in the Abbassiya district in Cairo on May 2. At least 12 people were killed when attackers stormed an anti-military protest near the defence ministry in Cairo, medics and a security official said. The fate of the man is unknown.

 From Reuters:   Eleven people were killed and more than 160 wounded near Egypt's Defence Ministry on Wednesday after armed men assaulted protesters demanding an end to army rule, prompting two Islamist candidates to suspend their presidential election campaigns.

Unidentified "thugs" armed with guns or batons attacked demonstrators who included hundreds of ultraconservative Salafi Islamists protesting at the exclusion of their candidate from this month's vote, state news agency MENA reported.

The violence casts a deep shadow over the presidential election due on May 23 and 24, with a run-off in June, and highlights the fragility of Egypt's transition to democracy, which has been punctuated by violence and political bickering. Click here for the latest on the violence in Cairo