Egypt - Reuters - December 16, 2011
Protesters assist an injured fellow protester during clashes with army soldiers at the cabinet near Tahrir Square in Cairo December 16, 2011. Photo by Reuters
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Eight people were killed and at least 300 were injured on Friday night in Egypt's capital after clashes erupted between protesters and security forces.

Hundreds of protesters threw stones at security forces that have sealed off the streets around the country's parliament building with barbed wire.

Dr. Hisham Shiha, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told CNN that at least two of the dead were teenagers and one an Islamic scholar. He said that at least four people were killed from gunshot wounds.

The clashes, which erupted in the midst of polls meant to herald a promised transfer to civilian rule, sharpened tensions between the ruling army and its opponents, and clouded a parliamentary vote set to bring Islamists, long repressed by former President Hosni Mubarak, to the verge of power.

The army said the trouble had begun when an officer tasked with maintaining security outside parliament had been attacked.

A new civilian advisory council set up to offer policy guidance to the generals said it would resign if its recommendations on how to solve the crisis were not heeded.

One of its members, presidential candidate Amr Moussa, told an Egyptian television channel that the body had suspended its meetings until the military council met its demands, including halting all violence against demonstrators.

Islamist and liberal politicians decried the army's tactics."Even if the sit-in was not legal, should it be dispersed with such brutality and barbarity?" asked Mohamed El Baradei, a presidential candidate and former UN nuclear watchdog head.

The sit-in outside the cabinet office was a remnant of far bigger protests last month around Cairo's Tahrir Square in which 42 people were killed shortly before voting began in Egypt's first election since the army council took over from Mubarak.

"The council wants to spoil the elections. They don't want a parliament that has popular legitimacy, unlike them, and would challenge their authority," said Shadi Fawzy, a pro-democracy activist. "I don't believe they will hand over power in June."