Riot Police March Into Cairo’s Tahrir Square

Posted November 19th, 2011 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
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Tensions are rising again in Cairo, one day after thousands of protesters swarmed the city's famed Tahrir Square to demand the military relinquish power sooner.

Egyptian riot police marched into the square Saturday and scuffled with hold-outs from Friday's mass demonstration.

Some witnesses said police beat several activists, and a cameraman with the Associated Press said he saw police arrest three people who refused to leave.

Riot police also tore down tents and removed chairs and other items belonging to the protesters from the square.

The latest demonstrations came a little more than a week before Egypt's first post-revolution elections.

Friday's rally was called by the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's most organized political group, in reaction to a government proposal that critics complain is an attempt by the military to prolong its “temporary” powers.

The proposal would exempt the military from civilian oversight in the next constitution. The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, says the document is not binding, an assertion many protesters say they do not believe.

Egyptians are scheduled to got to the polls later this month for the start of parliamentary elections will stretch into March. The new legislature will then spend up to a year drafting a new constitution and only then will presidential elections be held.