21 Nov 2011

Egyptian protesters defy crackdown to stay in Tahrir Square

3:04 pm on 21 November 2011

Thousands of protesters remain in Cairo's Tahrir Square after two days of clashes in which at least 13 people were killed and hundreds injured.

Egyptian police and military forces used batons, tear gas and birdshot to clear thousands of protesters from the square.

However, the protesters returned less than an hour later, chanting slogans against Egypt's military rulers.

There have also been demonstrations in Alexandria, Suez and Aswan.

The protestors are demanding that the military council hand over power to a civilian government, fearing that Egypt's interim military rulers are trying to retain their grip on power.

The fighting in Cairo began early on Saturday local time and continued for much of Sunday.

A total of 11 people were reportedly killed on Sunday and two on Saturday, according to medical sources. Health officials say as many as 900 have been injured, including at least 40 security personnel.

Tahrir Square, which is normally one one of Cairo's busiest traffic thoroughfares, is closed to vehicles and most nearby businesses are shut.

The European Union said it condemned the violence in the strongest terms.

Elections due to begin soon

Parliamentary elections are due to begin on 28 November and take three months.

Earlier in November, the military council produced a draft document setting out principles for a new constitution.

Under those guidelines, the military would be exempted from civilian oversight, as would its budget.