The violence erupted on Saturday as thousands of demonstrators attempted to march toward the headquarters of the ruling military council to urge the speeding up of reforms and a transition to democratic civilian rule, Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency reported.

The protesters were blocked by Egyptian troops and military police, the report added.

Army forces fired shots in the air in an attempt to disperse the protesters as they reached the area.

According to reports, thugs supporting the military council attacked the protesting people with stones and Molotov cocktails from rooftops.

Earlier on Saturday, head of Egypt’s military council Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi appeared on TV, pledging to work for a free political system through fair elections.

Tantawi said in the recorded speech that his interim government was committed to democracy.

Experts say such gestures have failed to appease growing anti-military sentiments across the North African country.

Protesters have camped out in Cairo’s Liberation Square since July 8, calling for an immediate end to the military rule and the appointment of a democratically elected government.

They also seek the trial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and members of his regime who are responsible for the killing of hundreds of demonstrators during the revolution.

Following Mubarak’s downfall, the military council took over in Egypt. Many Egyptians believe the council is trying to derail the revolution.

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