Cairo: Egypt's military ruler has imposed a curfew on Cairo's Tahrir area as at least 25 people, including three soldiers, were killed and 170 injured after Coptic Christians protesting over an attack on a church clashed with security forces in the capital.

Central Cairo witnessed a demonstration by activists against the military rule while police augmented by Special Forces deployed in the area called on protesters to leave before the curfew because they have been ordered to treat people breaking the curfew with firmness.

The curfew is to last from 2 am to 7 am Cairo Local Time. Despite the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi issuing a decree to halt presenting civilians to military courts except in cases stated by the military law, people arrested in Sunday's events might face military trials as they have attacked army members.

Other protests in Egyptian cities have peacefully ended and in particular in Alexandira where thousands of Copts had surrounded a military area and torched cars nearby. Copts had arranged for a rally in Cairo in objection to recent clashes last week in the area of Idfu in Aswan, Egypt’s furthest governorate south.

Muslims had attacked a building they claimed Copts were turning into a church accusing them of not having the needed permits.

Nothing was done to prevent the issue from escalating as the governor confirmed the permits were not requested from the official bodies. To reply the Copts published copies of the permits in newspapers signed by the governor himself.

The governor did not apologise but noted "he was suffering fatigue when he signed the papers and hence cannot remember."

(Agencies)