Mubarak makes defiant speech on state TV

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The Independent Online

The deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak yesterday used his first television address since being toppled to rebuke the "unjust campaigns and untrue allegations" he claimed had been levelled against him by the pro-democracy movement.

Just 36 hours after at least one person was killed and dozens were injured following an army crackdown on protesters who had returned to occupy central Cairo's Tahrir Square, Mr Mubarak said he was "in great pain" because of "allegations targeting myself and my family".

He added: "They aim to tarnish my reputation and discredit my integrity, my stance, my political and military history during which I worked hard for Egypt and its people in peace and war."

Mr Mubarak has been under house arrest in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh since 11 February. He denied having any assets in foreign countries and said he would co-operate with Egypt's general prosecutor during any corruption investigation.

His defiant message came a day after violence and bloodshed returned to Cairo. Tens of thousands of protesters had gathered after Friday prayers in Tahrir Square – the biggest demonstration since Mr Mubarak fell – in an attempt to heap pressure on the ruling military council, which many in the pro-democracy movement believe has been too slow to prosecute regime officials.

Shortly after 2am hundreds of soldiers moved in, firing shots and rounding-up some of the few thousand demonstrators who had remained behind after the afternoon rally. Agency reports said that at least one person was shot dead during the clashes, though the army has denied using live rounds.

Many believe the ruling military council, which took power after Mr Mubarak was toppled, is protecting former members of the regime. On the same day, the Egyptian public prosecutor summoned him and his sons as part of an investigation into the killing of protesters and embezzlement of state funds.