Egypt cabinet, army rulers hold urgent meeting

CAIRO Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:55am EST

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's ruling military council and the army-picked cabinet held an urgent meeting on Sunday after protesters and police clashed in Cairo to discuss the violence and ensure an election next week goes ahead on time, the cabinet said.

Cabinet spokesman Mohamed Hegazy told Reuters the meeting was to discuss "the political and security situation and the aftermath of the Tahrir Square confrontation and the effort to contain the situation."

Police backed by the army charged protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday using batons and firing teargas after demonstrators defied calls to leave and demanded the ruling generals swiftly hand power to civilians.

Hegazy said the meeting would discuss steps to "calm down the street and create a conducive atmosphere towards the election."

Asked if the parliamentary election due to start on November 28 would go ahead as planned, he said: "We are all insisting on having the election on time -- the government, parties and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces."

(Writing by Edmund Blair)