Overnight Curfew Imposed After Egypt Clashes

Egypt's ruling military council has imposed an overnight curfew in the area around the defence ministry in Cairo after one soldier was reported killed and hundreds wounded in clashes there.

Egypt's ruling military council has imposed an overnight curfew in the area around the defence ministry in Cairo after one soldier was reported killed and hundreds wounded in clashes there.

Soldiers used water cannons and tear gas against protesters on Friday.

Dozens of people were arrested. Protesters later dispersed and some joined a protest in Tahrir Square.

An Egyptian protester holds a national flag as he chants slogans at a rally in Tahrir Square in Cairo Egypt, Friday, May 4, 2012. Thousands rallied in Egypt against the country's ruling military council on Friday, two days after a flare-up of street violence left at least nine dead and fueled a wave of Islamist-led opposition to the generals ahead of presidential elections.

On Wednesday, unidentified assailants attacked protesters outside the ministry, leaving at least 20 dead.

The protesters, who were demonstrating against the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), accused the government of orchestrating the attack.

The curfew is in force from 23:00 to 07:00 (21:00 to 05:00 GMT)

The BBC's Jon Leyne, who was at Friday's demonstration, said trouble flared when protesters ignored army warnings not to approach the ministry.

They tried to break through a protective ring of barbed wire and soldiers responded with water cannons and tear gas.

Egyptian security forces, unseen, fire a water cannon at protesters during clashes outside the Ministry of Defense in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, May 4, 2012. Egyptian armed forces and protesters clashed in Cairo on Friday, with troops firing water cannons and tear gas at demonstrators who threw stones as they tried to march on the Defense Ministry, a flashpoint for a new cycle of violence only weeks ahead of presidential elections.

Both sides threw rocks at the other in clashes that lasted several hours.

Later the health ministry said one soldier had been killed and about 300 people wounded. It says about 130 are being treated in hospital.

The army says proceedings against those arrested have already started in military courts.

The unrest comes just three weeks before presidential elections are due to be held - the first since Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down.

Egyptian protesters attend the Friday prayer at a rally in Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, May 4, 2012. Thousands rallied in Egypt against the country's ruling military council on Friday, two days after a flare-up of street violence left at least nine dead and fueled a wave of Islamist-led opposition to the generals ahead of presidential elections.

Islamists blamed

Earlier on Friday, thousands once again gathered in Tahrir Square - the focus of the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 - to protest against the Scaf.

The crowd expressed their anger at the generals' failure to protect the demonstration on Wednesday and reiterated the demand that they hand over power to a civilian administration immediately, rather than after the presidential election.

In the afternoon, protesters began walking from Tahrir Square to the defence ministry in the capital's Abbasiya district.

The protesters started throwing stones and clashes then broke out.

State television blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the trouble, despite the fact that the Islamist movement has been urging its supporters to stay away.

Clashes also occurred between protesters and security forces in Egypt's second city of Alexandria on Friday.