CAIRO - Egypt's most powerful political force has accused the ruling junta of inciting violence against protestors, in the harshest criticism of the country's military rulers.
[The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces] tries to create new crises as the time for power transfer to an elected civilian government gets closer, Mohamed Beltagy, member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, said in a statement cited by the Washington Post on Monday, December 19.
He called the military council a collaborator with those disrupting Egypt's security and safety.
At least 10 people were killed and scores injured in four days of deadly clashes between protestors and army troops in downtown Cairo.
The violence was ignited when army troops used force to break up a small sit-in demonstration demanding an end to military rule.
Troops in riot gear have been filmed in recent days beating protesters with long sticks even after they had fallen to the ground.
A Reuters picture showed two soldiers dragging a woman lying on the ground by her shirt, exposing her underwear.
The violence has overshadowed a staggered parliamentary election, the first free vote most Egyptians can remember, that is set to give Islamists the biggest bloc.
The military crackdown on protestors has invited rebukes from the United Nations and the United States.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he is highly alarmed by the excessive use of force employed by the security forces against protesters, and calls for the transitional authorities to act with restraint and uphold human rights, including the right to peaceful protest."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also said she was "deeply concerned" about continuing violence in Egypt.
"I urge Egyptian security forces to respect and protect the universal rights of all Egyptians, including the rights to peaceful free expression and assembly," she said in a statement.
Clinton also called on Egyptian authorities to hold accountable those, including security forces, who violate the rights of demonstrators.
"Those who are protesting should do so peacefully and refrain from acts of violence. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have been killed or injured," Clinton said.
Tension has recently grown between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military rulers over the powers of the new parliament.
Absurd inflammatory statements, contradicting all democratic principles, are made by some SCAF Major-Generals, and SCAF refuses to reject, condemn or denounce such provocative statements, the Brotherhood's party said.
SCAF member Maj. Gen. Mukhtar Mulla had earlier said that the new parliament was not completely representative.
Military rulers have said that winners of the elections, which Islamists are expected to emerge the biggest bloc, will not be able to form a government.
The new parliament, which Islamists are expected to dominate, will form a 100-member assembly which will write the country's new constitution.
Analysts predict a power struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military rulers.
This is a new confrontation in Egypt between a Brotherhood dominated parliament and the military, over the future of the country and over who controls what institutions, Shadi Hamid, an Egypt expert at the Brookings Doha Center, told the Washington Post.It's becoming increasingly clear to the Brotherhood and everyone else that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is the single most anti-democratic force in Egypt and is a threat to everyone.