Medical sources in Egypt say the military’s pre-dawn crackdown on demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square has killed two people and left at least 15 wounded.
State television quoted Egypt’s Health Ministry Saturday as saying just one person died and 71 others were wounded.
Military police swept into the square, swinging batons and firing shots, at around three in the morning to clear out protesters defying a curfew as they rallied against the country’s former and current leadership. Witnesses say police beat the protesters, and blood could be seen on the streets early Saturday.
Egypt’s ruling military council released a statement saying police were confronting rioters and trying to enforce the curfew, blaming the violence on outlaws.
By Saturday afternoon, at least 1,000 protesters had returned to the square and appeared to have put down objects in the road to block traffic.
Egyptians have been growing more frustrated with the country’s military leaders who have taken control of the country. Demonstrators Friday called for the removal of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who heads the military council.
Protesters formed a human wall to protect several army officers who joined Friday’s demonstrations against the orders of the armed forces.
The protest was one of the biggest in the Egyptian capital since former President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign February 11.
Demonstrators have accused the military of protecting Mubarak, who has been living under house arrest at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with his family. Protesters want him to be tried for corruption.