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Egypt security forces clear Tahrir, route to US embassy

Egypt's police puts an end to four days of anti-film demos by forcibly dispersing protesters early Saturday morning

Michael Gunn , Saturday 15 Sep 2012
Egypt security forces clear Tahrir, route to US embassy
An Egyptian riot policeman smashes plastic chairs as police clear Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 after days of protests near the U.S. embassy over a film insulting Prophet Muhammad. (Photo: AP)
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Hundreds of Egyptian Central Security Forces (CSF) and plainclothes personnel stormed Cairo's Tahrir Square and the roads leading to the US Embassy on Saturday morning, beating and arresting dozens of protesters and bringing an end to four days of sometimes violent demonstrations.

The latest action by security forces began just before 9am and lasted less than 20 minutes. 
 
A significant number of Egyptians in plainclothes worked alongside the CSF, including juveniles with cloth 'gas-masks' and batons on cords around their wrists.
 
The street in front of the US Embassy is now completely empty of protesters and traffic is flowing normally on Tahrir. 
 
Trucks crammed with security forces remain clustered around several entrances to the flashpoint square while state-employed cleaners sweep rubble from the streets.
 
The crackdown followed four days of sometimes violent protests, staged against an anti-Islam film produced in the US, centred around the American embassy in the capital's Garden City.
 
After violently dispersing the protesters, security forces smashed merchandise and tea stands and ripped down banners erected during Friday's protests.
 
Cleaners using a truck-mounted crane tore down a large banner hung on Tahrir's traffic lights of Omar Abdel Rahman, the 'blind sheikh' currently serving a life sentence in the US for his alleged part in terrorist attacks.
 
It is estimated that over 220 were arrested in the crackdown Saturday morning, with another 142 having been arrested since rioting began three days ago - totalling over 262 arrests. Eyewitnesses on Saturday claimed many people were beaten and detained.
 
A government official visited the scene shortly after the crackdown and was greeted with cheers and applause from bystanders.
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