Presidential candidates Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, Mohamed Mursi, Hamdeen Sabahi and Khalid Ali suspended their campaigns on Wednesday in protest against violent clashes by Egypt's Defence Ministry.
Angered by the presidential committee's decision to disqualify the ultra orthodox candidate, supporters of Hazem Salah Abu Ismail decided to stage a sit-in in Abassiya six days ago. They called for the dissolving of the committee as well as an immediate handover of power to civilians.
Activists from different political backgrounds, who oppose military rule, soon joined the sit-in where a series of attacks against protesters by unknown assailants erupted on Monday evening.
Security and medical sources have confirmed that 11 citizens were killed in confrontations between protesters and armed assailants, Reuters reported.
In response to the deaths, several presidential candidates suspended their campaigns on Wednesday.
Ex-Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh said, "I declare the suspension of my campaign today... parliament must wake Interior Minister to do his job." He added, "The state is obliged to protect peaceful sit-ins... it is not the role of citizens to resist attempts to disperse sit-ins on a daily basis."
Nasserist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi said, "we will not tolerate the continuation of this bloodbath and violation of people's right to peaceful demonstration". Sabahi held the authorities accountable for the protesters' safety.
Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and head of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Mohamed Mursi, also suspended his campaign for two days in mourning of Abassiya "martyrs", reported the Brotherhood's official website.
Labor lawyer and presidential candidate Khalid Ali referred to the incident as "another Camel Battle" and argued that a smear campaign against protesters have led people into accepting use of violence against them. Ali was met with unwelcoming raged reactions upon arriving to Abassiya to stand in solidarity with the protesters.
Presidential candidates Hisham Al-Bastawisi and Mohamed Selim Al-Awa both condemned the clashes but did not suspend their campaigns.
Prime Minister Kamal Al-Ganzouri interrupted Wednesday's cabinet meeting for half an hour to discuss the violent events. He called on Health, High Education and Interior Ministers to head to Abassiya and update him with the latest developments.
A wary calm atmosphere fills Abassiya and areas leading to it, after clashes were halted with the help of central security and army apparatus who arrived to secure surrounding streets and state buildings.
Meanwhile, Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) invited a number of political leaders for an urgent meeting to discuss recent developments. Several political parties decided to boycott the meeting in protest against the Abassiya clashes. They insisted that they will not meet with the SCAF until violence is put to an end. These political parties include Freedom and Justice, Nour, Wafd, Adl, Ghad, Hadara and the Popular Coalition party.
On the other hand, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party, who controls the biggest bloc in parliament, also held an urgent press conference today to discuss recent developments in the political spectrum, including reasons behind boycotting the SCAF meeting.
Member of Parliament (MP) Mohamed Abdel Moneim Al-Sawy announced that Hadara party will also boycott the SCAF meeting. In addition, he called on the authorities to intervene to stop the bloodshed, Al-Jazeera reported.
Heads of the Ghad and Popular Coalition parties, Ayman Nour and Abdel Ghafour Shokr also decided to boycott the meeting for the same reason.
On the other hand, head of the Nour party, Emad Abdel Ghafour announced an intention to head with other parliamentarians to Abassiya to stand in solidarity with protesters, Al-Jazeera reported.