Egypt police clear Tahrir Square of protesters

Sat Oct 1, 2011 7:43am EDT
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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian riot police on Saturday cleared Cairo's Tahrir Square of protesters who had wanted to stage a sit-in following a demonstration demanding an end to emergency laws and a speedy transfer of power to civilians from military rulers.

Around 100 protesters had stayed in the square after the demonstration held on Friday.

Riot police with shields and batons arrested 10 people when protesters threw stones at them, state news agency MENA said, but activists in the square told Reuters the stone throwers were not part of their group.

Soldiers and security forces stayed away from the square on Friday but the ruling military council had warned demonstrators against attacking public facilities.

Activists vowed to return to Tahrir Square to keep up the pressure on the military council should demands not be met.

"We are planning to hold a big sit-in as we have three demands, an end to emergency law, an end to military trials of civilians and speeding up trials of previous top officials," Mostafa el Hag, a 28 year-old singer and activist said.

"We are waiting to see what the military council says on Sunday," he said.

About 60 political parties and groups, including the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, have threatened to boycott an upcoming parliamentary election and set a deadline of Sunday for the military council to meet their demands.

These include approving a law that would effectively prevent many of those who supported deposed president Hosni Mubarak while he was in power from running for office.   Continued...

<p>Sean Penn shakes hands with protesters in Tahrir Square during a demonstration against the ruling military council, after Friday prayers in Cairo, September 30, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer</p>