"Tear gas canisters return to Tahrir," announces the front page of Sunday’s Al-Shorouk; the paper, like most of the day’s news publications, leads with Saturday’s eruption of violence after attempts by state security forces to clear the square of protesters. The privately-owned paper reports that riot police assisted Central Security Forces in their forced evacuation of “approximately 300 activists and injured individuals who had been staging a sit-in following Friday’s protest, dubbed 'The Friday of the One Demand and Power Transition.'”
Al-Shorouk’s reporters claim they witnessed several arrests, and at least one occasion where officers were seen “brutally” beating groups of protesters. The paper reports that security personnel were armed with “sticks and non-lethal weapons.”
Al-Wafd, the official news publication of the Wafd Party, reports that “20 armored vehicles … were deployed to remove approximately 200 protesters,” and that security forces also used tasers and “electrically-charged weapons.”
Al-Wafd reports that after successfully clearing the square of protesters, state security forces began pursuing groups of them down side streets, “chasing them with cars” and “pelting them with rocks.”
The paper’s report points out that Saturday’s conflict indicates a falling out of sorts between the ruling military council and the Islamists, who it says made up the vast majority of Friday’s protest and the following day’s sit-in. Al-Wafd speculates on whether the incident will sway liberals into thinking that military rule is the only thing preventing Egypt from falling into the hands of an Islamist regime.
Following the initial wave of violence on Saturday and the withdrawal of state security forces, a “group of military police officers approached the injured protesters, apologizing to them and offering to let the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces find employment opportunities for them,” Al-Shorouk reports.
Unsurprisingly, state-owned Al-Ahram mostly neglects the renewed Tahrir violence, summarizing it in a brief front-page report, and pointing out things like “state security officers cleared the streets surrounding the Interior Ministry and managed to return to [Tahrir] Square before protesters could call for reinforcements through social media networks.” Thank God for that.
The Interior Ministry has since released a statement claiming that the “evacuation of the square is in the public’s interest, aiming to benefit civilians and lighten traffic congestion.” The statement also included an acknowledgment of the “admirable restraint” with which state security officers evacuated the square, leaving over 600 wounded and at least one dead (at the time of writing this press review).
Meanwhile, potential presidential candidate Mohamed Selim al-Awa is featured on Al-Shorouk’s front page, similarly praising the restraint displayed by police officers during Friday’s protest. Awa goes on to assert that he “is not worried” about the upcoming elections, since, according to him, “120,000 officers have been taking special training in self-restraint in preparation for the elections.”
In non-Tahrir related news, Al-Wafd reports that “election battles” have begun early, with two deaths and seven injuries reported in Cairo and Assiut in altercations over campaign posters. Most of the incidents involved firearms, the paper reports, singling out the Cairo incident, which left a Maadi resident dead after she refused to allow a hired thug known as "Dokdok" to hang a campaign poster in the entrance to her building. The heated argument escalated, and eventually Dokdok shot the elderly woman three times with a gun which a subsequent investigation revealed had been stolen from the Dar al-Salam police station.
The elections even seem to be attracting tectonic turmoil, as Al-Wafd reports that an earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale struck Hurghada at 9:15 on Saturday morning, “knocking down most election banners” in the area.
Al-Ahram also gives front-page priority to a report denying rumors of an assassination attempt on former President Hosni Mubarak by a medical officer at the International Medical Center, where the former president is currently being treated. The rumor, which attributes Mubarak’s near death to the sabotage of his life-support system, does not seem to have been picked up on by the rest of the day’s papers.
Garnering more unanimous attention across Sunday’s front pages is news of the capture of Saif al-Islam Qadhafi, with Al-Shorouk providing an image of the former heir apparent to Libya allegedly in captivity. While it remains unclear whether or not he will be handed over to the International Criminal Court, the 39-year-old will be given a fair trial, Libyan officials claim in Al-Shorouk’s coverage. Saif al-Islam was captured in the small town of Obari, along with three low-ranking officials. Al-Shorouk’s report then turns into a personal dating profile, reporting that “Saif al-Islam speaks English, German and some French … enjoys deep-sea diving and falcon hunting … and is single,” making his capture a real loss for the ladies.