Egypt's PM Apologizes for Overnight ViolenceWorld | February 3, 2011, Thursday // 12:32| views
An Egyptian protesters holds his arms up as pro and anti Mubarak demonstrators clash at Tahrir square, in Cairo, Egypt. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Egypt's PM Ahmed Shafiq has apologized for the violence between pro- and anti-government demonstrators in Cairo Wednesday night, in which five people were killed and 836 were wounded.
According to the BBC, Shafiq has described the violence as "fatal error" and has pledged to investigate the case.
On Wednesday night, gunfire lasted for two hours as anti-government protesters tried to stay in control of Cairo's Tahrir Square.
The demonstrators have been on the street since last week to demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for 30 years.
The death of the five people on Wednesday and the injuries of the 836 wounded were a result of stone throwing and attacks with metal rods and sticks.
"This is a fatal error. When investigations reveal who is behind this crime and who allowed it to happen, I promise they will be held accountable and will be punished for what they did," Shafiq told the privately-owned al-Hayat TV channel.
He apologized because "there is no excuse whatsoever to attack peaceful protesters" and he urged demonstrators to "go home" in order to help put an end to the crisis in the country.
Opposition supporters have stated that many in the pro-government camp were paid by the authorities and were allowed into Tahrir Square by the surrounding troops.
Violence between pro- and anti-government demonstrators spread across Egypt despite Mubarak's announcement that he will not seek re-election in the presidential election this year.
According to UN estimates, about 300 people have died in Egypt since the beginning of the unrest 10 days ago.
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