Protesters control Cairo square after clashes with security forces
Hundreds of protesters took control of Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital on Sunday, following violent overnight clashes with security forces in which two people were killed and hundreds injured, dpa reported.
The protesters were guarding the entrances to the iconic square in central Cairo, from which security forces were forced to withdraw after clashes in which teargas, rubber bullets and shotguns were reportedly used against the demonstrators.
Security forces were deployed to protect the nearby headquarters of the Interior Ministry, while traffic was being redirected from the square, witnesses told dpa.
Authorities have tightened security around police buildings across the country in the wake of attempts by protesters to storm some of them, media reports said.
The clashes erupted on Saturday when security forces tried to prevent protesters from making their way to Tahrir Square to express their dissatisfaction with the country's military rulers by staging a sit-in.
By the early hours of Sunday, riot police were fighting thousands of people on and around Tahrir Square, the scene of the tumultuous demonstrations that drove former president Hosny Mubarak from office earlier this year.
One protester was killed in Cairo and another in the coastal city of Alexandria, where similar clashes with security forces took place outside the Security Directorate, television reports said.
According to media reports, 750 people were injured in the violence in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities.
The government was Sunday to hold a crisis meeting amid calls from opposition groups for the prime minister and interior minister to be sacked.
The violence came nine days before Egyptians go to polls to elect a new parliament.