Conflict & Justice

Egyptian Army forcibly empties Tahrir sit-in

Whether it's the death of the democratic secular movement in Egypt or just more back and forth between protesters and military, the military gained the upper hand in Cairo's Tahrir square today.

But resentment against the protesters had been brewing, following a huge Islamist demonstration on Friday and eroding support for the secular groups demands in the face of an unstable economy.

Soldiers and police cleared the remnants of protestors and makeshift shelters, as tanks surrounded the square. Dozens of protesters were led into military vehicles and presumably arrested. The army also rebuffed attempts by demonstrators to march back into the square on Monday afternoon.

Since July 8, thousands of protesters had re-occupied Tahrir, aiming to pressure Egypt's ruling military council to hold a speedy and transparent trial for former President Mubarak and accountability for the police officers accused of killing and injuring thousands.

Many protesters had already left the square following the ruling military's concessions on government members. As of this morning only several hundred protesters remained, Ahram Online reported.

Crowds of local residents, shopkeepers and bystanders gathered and cheered the security forces as they tore down tents and beat and arrested some of the demonstrators, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

"Their support for the break-up signals growing popular opposition to protests as worries about stability and the economy prevail," CSM said.

By sundown Monday, Tahrir Square was unoccupied but for destroyed tents. "Workers filled garbage trucks with the belonging of people who had been camped there."

The increasing opposition to the Tahrir demonstrators gave the military the ability to clear the square quickly. For weeks, the military has been carrying out a "propaganda campaign," against those in the square, accusing them of being backed by foreign agents, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

The Revolution Youth Coalition, one of the lead revolutionary political groups, "condemned the army and police attack on peaceful protesters in the square on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. We believe that the protesters have the right to peacefully sit-in the square."