69 Egyptian protesters face charges after police raid Tahrir

Ahram Online , Monday 4 Mar 2013

Police stormed the ongoing sit-in in Tahrir Square on Sunday, arresting 69 on charges of weapons possession, thuggery, resisting arrest and illegal assembly

Tahrir Square
Plainclothes security personnel use batons to beat an anti-government protester at Cairo's Tahrir Square March 3, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

Sixty-nine Egyptians, five of whom have been released on bail, are being investigated by the Egyptian prosecution after being arrested by police on Sunday in Cairo's Tahrir Square, home to a sit-in ongoing since November 2012.

The prosecution charged the accused with possession of weapons, resisting arrest, "thuggery" and illegal assembly, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

The weapons, according to the site, include automatic guns and "bombs."

Police forces stormed Tahrir Square early on Sunday morning, according to witnesses interviewed by Ahram Online, and arrested dozens while searching the tents set up as part of the sit-in and confiscating protesters' belongings.

Witnesses accused the police of unnecessary violence, saying officers initially told them they would not arrest anyone or attempt to end the sit-in.

After police left the square, the remaining protesters once again closed off the roads leading to Tahrir, preventing traffic from entering.

Protesters have been holding a sit-in in Tahrir Square intermittently since 22 November when President Mohamed Morsi issued a controversial constitutional declaration that rendered his decisions above judicial supervision.

Most recently, however, the square was occupied by protesters following the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution and the ensuing violence.

On 26 February, police arrested 65 people while removing metal barriers and barbed wire from the streets leading to Tahrir Square.

A small number of tents and protesters remain in the centre of the square.

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