[AFP]

Egypt's cabinet has denied that it had a role in mobilising supporters of Hosni Mubarak, the president, 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," Magdy Rady, a cabinet spokesman told Reuters news agency.

"We were surprised with all these actions. The government will take the measures it can to identify who was behind this and try to deal with this."

Army not intervening

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.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Shafiq, the prime minister, told reporters the violence would be investigated and also said it was inviting all parties for talks.

Asked if this includes the Muslim Brotherhood, banned from political activities in Egypt, Shafiq said: "No one will be excluded from the dialogue.

Source: Agencies