Tahrir updates: Tensions continue to loom in Tahrir

Clashes between Central Security Forces (CSF) and protesters on Mohamed Mahmoud Street continued this morning despite the Interior Ministry statement about withdrawing security forces from the area.

CSF fired multiple rounds of tear gas while protesters threw rocks at them. Other protesters rode motorcycles around the area or roamed through Tahrir Square carrying sticks. 

The military started to withdraw its trucks in the early afternoon, while the Interior Ministry, close to Tahrir Square, emptied its buildings of employees.

Hundreds of protesters remain in the square, some threatening an open-ended sit-in. They demanded the fall of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, as well as Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and Interior Minister Mahmoud al-Essawy.

They said that CSF is dealing with them the same way the old regime used to do.

“They are using tear gas which expired in 1987 and is mostly used to hunt wild animals in Africa,” said an angry protester. “They are using dirty ways to terrify us. They were shouting into microphones and insulting people.”

With clashes on the rise, people on the ground believe that the number of casualities announced by the Ministry of Health early today is not even close to the right number.  “I believe there are tens injured each minute,” said Amina Mohamed, a protester.

“The official number we have is 97 injuries transferred to hospitals while 655 others were treated on the ground,” said Mohamed Soltan, head of the ambulances team, which includes 30 ambulances on the ground.

All casualities range from tear gas inhalation to superficial injuries and there are no deaths, according to Soltan.

Some other protesters accused state television of not broadcasting the truth, just like pre-revolution times.

“There are no TV cameras on the ground to capture the truth,” said a  female protester. “No one knows the truth.”

Demonstrators accused the police of having attacked a 60-year-old mother of one of the protesters who died during the revolution, most likely Mahmoud Qotb, and her son, which provoked people.

According to witnesses’ accounts in Tahrir, which could not be independently verified, the relatives of those killed in Egypt’s 25 January revolution protested at the Balloon Theater in Agouza, where there was supposedly a festival for honoring martyrs. After the festival, the group reportedly decided to march to the Interior Ministry, close to Tahrir Square.

Later, they headed to Tahrir Square, where clashes continue to escalate. 

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