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Breaking: Tantawi pays surprise visit to Tahrir

SCAF chief drops by flashpoint square with stated aim of ensuring smooth flow of traffic

Sunday 11 Dec 2011

Field-Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Egypt’s de facto ruler, ‎paid a surprise visit to Cairo’s flashpoint Tahrir Square on ‎Sunday afternoon.‎

According to media reports, Tantawi, head of Egypt’s ‎ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), ‎wanted to ensure that traffic was running smoothly in the ‎square, which has continued to serve as a rallying point ‎for political dissent since Egypt’s January revolution. ‎

Hundreds of protesters, who have been occupying the ‎square since 19 November to demand that the SCAF ‎hand over power to a civilian authority, removed all traffic ‎barriers on Saturday. But they maintained makeshift tents ‎in the square’s central island and in the area next to the ‎administrative Mogamaa building.‎

Tantawi’s visit was the first of its kind to the iconic square ‎since late last fall, when he made a brief appearance in ‎downtown Cairo wearing civilian garb, igniting widespread ‎speculation that he was considering a bid for the ‎presidency.‎

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