Egyptian Security Forces Clash with Activists in Cairo for 3rd Day

Posted November 21st, 2011 at 4:45 am (UTC-5)
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Egyptian security forces have fought with hundreds of pro-democracy activists in Cairo for a third day as the government continues a crackdown on nationwide protests in which at least 13 people have been killed.

Security forces fired tear gas Monday at stone-throwing demonstrators in and around Tahrir Square, where the activists had camped for a third consecutive night. The protesters accuse Egypt's military rulers of not moving quickly enough to return the country to civilian rule.

Egyptian police and troops had briefly dispersed the protesters Sunday by firing tear gas and rubber bullets, but the activists retook the square later in the day. Authorities said at least 11 demonstrators were killed. Similar street battles erupted Sunday in the cities of Alexandria and Suez.

Another two protesters were killed Saturday during protests in Cairo and Alexandria. Hundreds of people have been hurt, some with eye injuries from rubber bullets.

Many of the demonstrators have been chanting “The people want to topple the field marshal,” a reference to Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, leader of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The Tantawi-led council took power in February when a popular uprising ousted autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

Pro-democracy activists have criticized the council for setting guidelines for a new constitution that would keep some military affairs beyond civilian control. The activists also want the military rulers to stop putting civilians on trial in military courts.

Egypt's military-led government held an emergency meeting Sunday and promised to begin staggered parliamentary elections as planned on November 28. Some opposition activists accuse the military council of provoking the violence as a pretext for postponing the elections and extending their tenure.

The protest-related violence began early Saturday as police moved into Tahrir Square to remove hundreds of people who camped on the site after a mass anti-government rally Friday.