CAIRO Army units secured the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo against possible looting on Friday, protecting a building with spectacular pharaonic treasures such as the death mask of the boy king Tutankhamun, state TV said.
The news follows a day of violent anti-government protests in Cairo and other cities. Some of the most violent scenes in four days of protests have been in squares and streets close to the museum building.
It was also broadcast as reports of looting of some government buildings emerged. One Reuters photographer said looters had broken into a ruling party building near the museum and were walking out with furniture, computers and other items.
Well-known Egyptian film director Khaled Youssef had earlier called on the army to ensure the museum was protected, in comments to the Al Arabiya television channel.
"I am calling on the Egyptian army to head instantly to the Egyptian museum. There is a fire right next to it in the (ruling) Party headquarters," said Youssef, who has directed movies critical of government policies.
State TV carried a brief headline saying the army had secured the museum but did not give any more details.
The museum contains a huge quantity of ancient antiquities, including the contents of the tomb of Tutankhamun that was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. The gold death mask is one of the most spectacular pieces.