Egypt’s ruling military council, the Supreme Council for Armed Forces (SCAF), said it is still going to hand over power before June 30, hoping to diffuse criticism after deadly clashes in Cairo, according to media reports.
“We are keen to have free and fair presidential elections and it is not true that we have barred foreign NGOs from monitoring our elections. We have invited foreign NGOs to monitor the forthcoming elections, including the Carter Association,” Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Assar told reporters on Thursday, according to Al Arabiya.
He added, “Only the Egyptian people will [decide] the name of the coming president.”
His announcement comes just a day after 11 people were killed in an attack on protesters outside of the defense ministry building in Cairo. The attack was carried out by unidentified assailants, but reports emerged that live ammunition was used on protesters, and activists alleged that government-backed thugs were behind it.
“Some people insist on making resemblance between today and the days of the former regime, which is completely wrong,” Assar said, adding that any new protests should be done without “chaos.”
Protesters have called for marches and protests near the defense ministry building this Friday, but Assar said this is not advisable.
“We prefer to have sits-in and protests in Tahrir Square instead of Abbasiya and the Ministry of Defense area,” he said, according to the Al-Ahram daily newspaper.
More specifically, he warned protesters to “stay away” from the ministry building “because we don’t want to use any violence against our youths,” reported Al-Jazeera.
Another member of the SCAF, General Mokhtar al-Mulla, said that if protesters approach defense ministry “[installations], they should hold themselves responsible,” the network reported.
Approximately 1,000 protesters have camped around the defense ministry complex for days, calling for an end to military-led rule.