Tahrir Square nearly empty after Friday’s mass protest

Ahram Online, Saturday 19 Nov 2011

Police scatter protesters who had planned to camp-out in Tahrir Square following yesterday’s mass demonstration in the epicentre of Egypt's January 25 Revolution

File photo: Tents set up at Tahrir Square

Traffic in Tahrir Square has returned to normal after Friday's mass demonstration.

Access to Tahrir remained blocked until late last night and it was later reported that around 2,000 activists were ready to camp-out in an open-ended sit-in until the military council fulfils their demands.

By the next morning, however, the demonstrators have all but left the iconic square as police forces reemerged in the area in abundance.

Police and military personnel usually evacuate the square during mass protests to avoid possible clashes with demonstrators. 

This Saturday morning, however, there are very little signs of yesterday's mass protest in Tahrir Square, as almost all tents and banners were removed.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters descended on Tahrir Square yesterday to call for an end to military rule and a swift transfer of power to an elected president by April 2012.

Although the mass demonstration was labelled the "Friday of One Demand," repudiation of the supra-constitutional principles equally resounded across the square.

Islamist presidential hopeful Selim El-Awa was one of those who promised to remain in Tahrir until all demands are met. Other Islamist forces threatened to “peacefully escalate the revolution” should the SCAF show no response.

Two sit-ins were held in Tahrir beforehand.

The first historic sit-in started during the revolt in January. It lasted for 18 days and resulted in the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak on 11 February.

The second one started on 8 July and was forcibly dispersed on 1 August. It was held to demand the fulfilment of the revolution’s demands.

For a while afterwards, joint military and police forces were keen to prevent protesters from gathering on the central island in Tahrir Square. Later, however, it hosted other million-man marches.

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