Egyptian Protests Take A Deadly Turn
Early Saturday morning the Egyptian military raided the square to disband nearly 2,000 demonstrators who were angry with the ruling military council for not bringing corrupt officials to justice.
The scene echoed of the days of violence before President Hosni Mubarak's ouster with burned out vehicles and barbed wire around the square.
“I am amazed,” said Ihab Sherif. “I never imagined the army could do this. There was a huge number of soldiers and very heavy firing in the air. They chased us everywhere. I saw bloodied and wounded people.”
The Los Angeles Times reports:
The capital's central square, a scene of celebration two months ago when Mubarak fell from power, became a surprise battlefield as soldiers beat protesters and tore down tents. One demonstrator was shot dead and 71 others were injured. The military said its troops fired only blanks, but protesters said the air was peppered with live ammunition.
The city echoed with sustained gunfire as soldiers swept into the crowd shortly after 3 a.m. Many protesters were dragged toward trucks, and hundreds of others scattered as troops closed ranks and demonstrators hurled stones. Tensions were further heightened as protesters formed a line to protect at least eight junior military officers who had switched sides and joined the demonstrations hours earlier.
The protesters were participating in a sit-in demonstration and were heard chanting against Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the leader of the military council for the council's failure to follow through on the ideals of the revolution.
Demonstrators were not deterred by the early morning violence, though.
"We are not going to leave Tahrir Square now," said Yasser Atef, sitting near a burned army truck. "We wanted Mubarak put on trial. Now, we want Tantawi on trial. What happened in this square overnight cannot pass until those responsible are punished."