Field Marshal Tantawi says Egypt will never fall down

Protests, confrontations back to Cairo’s Tahrir Square

American, Briton among persons arrested in Tahrir clashes

Egypt court dissolves local councils

Fact-finding commission ordered in Bahrain

King Hamad of Bahrain says won’t allow extremists to hijack nation’s reformist experiment

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), said that Egypt will never fall and “we will rebuild it again in a proper way so that it becomes glorious among all nations.

During the inauguration of the Military Hospital and Center for Cancer Treatment in Kafr el-Sheikh, Tantawi said the military forces should be very hard working towards all citizens in order to make Egypt an advanced country.

Tantawi also said that Egypt needs to work in all fields in order to pass this transitional period. He said the situation will be dangerous if work is not accomplished.

Egypt sent hundreds of troops with armored vehicles onto the streets Wednesday to protect the Ministry of the Interior, the army taking over from the police, as anti-government protests raged.

The confrontations began when a planned memorial for people killed in Egypt's revolution earlier this year turned into an angry demonstration against the country's interim military government.

Clashes began Tuesday afternoon and continued overnight and into Wednesday, with intense confrontations between relatives of victims on one side and security forces on the other.

Many Egyptians are angry at the slow pace of change since President Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11 after protests.

A group called the January 25 coalition issued a range of demands Wednesday night, a day after the demonstrations began.

They called for the "speedy trial of snipers and killers of protesters, the removal of Cairo's head of security and the official spokesman of the Ministry of Interior" and "an immediate investigation in the events of last night."

The group, named for the day anti-government protests began this year, also called for the release of detainees held overnight and the "immediate expulsion of security officers who continue to butcher and kill Egyptian people," among other demands.

Protesters burned tires and threw Molotov cocktails, and police responded with tear gas, bullets and pellets in the biggest demonstrations in Cairo in months.

But despite the efforts of police, demonstrators maintained their positions in Cairo's Tahrir Square, increasing their numbers to about 2,000.

Dr. Hatem Ashraf, the minister of health, said 75 people were admitted to hospitals, with 10 still there after 65 people were treated and released.

Ministry spokesman Dr. Adel Al Adawy said earlier that 32 police officers were injured and more than 590 people were treated at the scene of the clashes. Some 23 ambulances were running to help care for the wounded, he said.

Nine people were arrested, said Alla Mahmoud, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

"Thugs carrying swords and weapons infiltrated the protesters and attacked the Ministry of Interior with Molotov cocktails and rocks," Mahmoud said.

A makeshift clinic was established in a nearby mosque where dozens of people were treated for minor wounds and fatigue from inhaling tear gas. Many people were seen bleeding from their heads and had suffered bullet wounds to the chest and face.

An American and a Briton were among those arrested in overnight clashes between police and protesters in Cairo, the official MENA news agency said, without identifying either of them.

The disturbances that erupted on Tuesday night were some of the most violent in months in Cairo's Tahrir square, which was the focal point of protests that forced veteran president Hosni Mubarak from power in February.

An Egyptian court ruled on Tuesday to dissolve local councils that were elected under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, after protesters called for remnants of the old political order to be dismantled.

"The court issued a decision to dissolve local councils across the country," judge Kamal al-Lamaei told a Cairo administrative court.

The councils, like other elected bodies in Egypt, were filled with members of Mubarak's ruling party or his supporters who secured office during elections that were widely rigged when the former president ruled, analysts say.

The case started a few months ago when a group of citizens asked the government to dissolve the local councils, saying they were riven with corruption. The government did not respond so they took their demand to an administrative court.

The court's ruling is not final and the government can appeal the verdict before a higher court within 60 days.

The military rulers who took power after Mubarak dissolved parliament in February. Anger at widespread vote buying and ballot stuffing in a vote for the lower house last November helped fuel the popular anger that brought down Mubarak.

New political groups are forming ahead of legislative elections set for September and the army generals have pledged a presidential vote before year-end.

Democracy activists say those votes would be meaningless until the government entrenches democracy with a fresh constitution for the Arab world's most populous country.

They are calling for a mass protest on July 8 to press their demands.

"This ruling is a test for the state. If the state quickly responds and says it accepts the verdict and calls for new elections for local councils, this could absorb some public anger," said political analyst and Professor Hassan Nafaa.

"But if it does not, it could make people more upset and give them even more reason to go out on July 8," he added.

Meanwhile, in Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa ordered the formation of an independent fact-finding team on Wednesday, to investigate weeks of protests that rocked the Gulf island nation earlier this year, the state news agency said.

The announcement comes ahead of a national dialogue, set to start on Saturday, which the government hails as a chance for reforms and reconciliation in a country riven with sectarian divisions after Bahrain's Sunni rulers cracked down on the protests, led mostly by the Shiite majority.

"We still need to look at what happened to know all the details of February and March and evaluate those events as they really were," King Hamad said, speaking at an extraordinary cabinet session.

The king said in a statement released by Bahrain News Agency that Bahrain had consulted with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on establishing the committee. "For there were victims of violence whom we cannot forget... A lack of confidence has prevailed and vision has been blurred by rumors."

No opposition leaders were immediately available to comment on how the move might affect their participation in the dialogue -- they have yet to say whether they would even attend.

Bahrain's Sunni rulers have accused the pro-democracy protesters of having a sectarian agenda with backing from Shiite power Iran, across Gulf waters.

Many Shiites, who deny the charges, say they have suffered the brunt of the crackdown, which included an arrest campaign of hundreds of people and sackings of up to 2,000 workers.