CAIRO - Egypt's cabinet denied on Thursday that it had a role in mobilising supporters of President Hosni Mubarak against anti-government protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square and said it would investigate those behind violence.
"To accuse the government of mobilising this is a real fiction. That would defeat our object of restoring the calm," cabinet spokesman Magdy Rady told Reuters.
"We were surprised with all these actions," he said.
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told reporters the violence would be investigated and also said it was inviting all parties for talks.
Asked if this include the Muslim Brotherhood, banned from political activities in Egypt and the target for frequent round ups, Shafiq said: "No one will be excluded from the dialogue."
Such a comment would have been unthinkable prior to the anti-government protests that erupted on Jan. 25.
Rady said: "The government will take the measures it can to identify who was behind this and try to deal with this."
Rady also said that the army, sent to the streets on Friday after police lost control of protests, had not intervened because it could have been interpreted as taking sides.
"There is faction here and faction there, they (the army) cannot take a side. If they interfere in one side that will defeat their purpose. It would complicate matters more than helping it," Rady said.
© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.