- Title: EGYPT: Soldiers clear tents in Tahrir Square
- Date: 14th February 2011
- Summary: SLATE INFORMATION
- Embargoed: 1st March 2011 12:00
- Location: Egypt, Egypt
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA20W6MTIVSBS3SUGT45R26Z3L4
- Story Text: Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers shoved pro-democracy protesters aside to force a path for traffic to start flowing through central Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday (February 13) for the first time in more than two weeks.
Protesters chanted "Peacefully, peacefully" as the soldiers and military police in red berets moved in to disperse them.
Scuffles broke out and some soldiers lashed out with sticks.
The military police chief told protesters not to disrupt traffic, as soldiers removed tents from the square.
The army has said it respects the demands of protesters, whose mass action drove Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power. But it has also called on them to go home and let normal life resume.
Protests erupted on January 25 and traffic stopped flowing through Tahrir after January 28. The square became the epicentre of nationwide demonstrations, with many protesters camping there.
The early morning violence did not last long on Sunday, but the army action, backed by dozens of military police, split demonstrators who had previously controlled the square into smaller groups.
About 2,000 demonstrators remained in the square and some tents were still pitched in the grassy central area.
Although Mubarak's resignation on Saturday met the key demand of protesters, many said they planned to stay in the square to ensure the military council now in charge of Egypt made way for civilian rule and democracy as it had promised.
Protesters demand the abolition of emergency law that has been used to stifle dissent for three decades, the release of all political prisoners, and free and fair elections.
Protesters said soldiers had detained some of their leaders and that more than 30 people had been taken to an army holding area around the Egyptian Museum, next to the square.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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