Army surrounds Tahrir holdouts, arrests leaders

Egyptian soldiers remove tents from Cairo square, traffic returns; witnesses say 30 forcefully removed, detained.

February 13, 2011 09:27
1 minute read.
Egyptian troops and protesters in Tahrir Square

Egyptian troops and protesters in Tahrir Square 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)


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Egyptian soldiers were taking down tents and surrounding the protesters remaining in Tahrir Square Sunday morning in an effort to allow traffic and normal life to return to central Cairo.

Some 30 protest leaders were reportedly forcefully removed by the army and were being held in an area adjacent to the Egyptian Museum, near the square, according to the report.

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There were a few verbal altercations between soldiers and protesters as the tents were removed, but the process was generally peaceful.

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Traffic also returned for the first time in more than two weeks to Tahrir, which was the epicenter of 18-days of protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

While some of the protesters resisted the advancing line of troops, chants of "Peacefully, peacefully" broke out in the square, according to Al Jazeera.

Over loudspeakers set up in Tahrir, one protester demanded that instead of removing "us from the square.... They must respond to our demands," according to the report.

Another voice coming over loudspeakers appealed directly to the Egyptian army: "There is no enmity between the people and armed forces ... We ask you not to attack our sons. This is not the [behavior] of the armed forces. This is a peaceful protest," Reuters reported.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt

The protester continued, "We demand from [the] armed forces to release all sons that have been arrested" in the central Cairo Square, according to the report.

The Egyptian army assumed power from deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on Friday. It said that it respects the demands of the Egyptian people but has said the protesters occupying Tahrir Square for more than two weeks should return to their homes so that life in the capital can return to normal.

While most of the protesters heeded the calls to end the demonstrations, some have remained in order to demand that the army move towards implementing a democratic regime.

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