Egypt's military secures famed antiquities museum

January 29, 2011 03:46

CAIRO — The Egyptian army secured Cairo's famed antiquities museum early Saturday, protecting treasures including the famed gold mask of King Tutankhamun from looters.

The greatest threat to the Egyptian Museum first appeared to come from the fire engulfing the ruling party headquarters next door on Friday night as anti-government protests roiled the country.

Then dozens of would-be thieves started entering the grounds surrounding the museum.

Suddenly other young men — some armed with truncheons taken from the police — formed a human chain outside the main gates on Tahrir Square in an attempt to protect the collection inside.

Finally, four armored vehicles took up posts outside the massive coral-colored building in downtown Cairo. Soldiers surrounded the building and moved inside to protect mummies, monumental stone statues, ornate royal jewelry and other pharaonic artifacts.

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