Egypt police clear Tahrir Square of protesters

November 19, 2011 12:45

CAIRO - Riot police on Saturday cleared Cairo's Tahrir Square of protesters who had camped overnight after a rally of some 50,000 people, mainly Islamists, pressed Egypt's military rulers to transfer power swiftly to a civilian government.

Around 100 protesters had stayed in the square, where police pulled down tents and confiscated chairs and banners they had set up, Reuters' witnesses said. Some minor scuffles occurred.

Men with long beards and women in veils predominated in Friday's rally that appeared to be the biggest Islamist challenge to military rule since the largely secular uprising that toppled autocratic President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Liberal and leftist parties also marched to Tahrir for the rally but it was a largely Islamist affair with members of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party and their more hardline Salafi rivals, represented by several parties.

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