Cairo protesters dispersed by police as calm returns


An Egyptian protester holds an Al-Qaeda affiliated flag in front of the riot police near the US embassy in Cairo on September 14, 2012 against a film mocking Islam. Just a few young protesters pelt rocks randomly, with no response from police as the clashes subsided after Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood withdrew calls for nationwide protests, saying they would instead participate in a 'symbolic' demonstration.



Cairo's protesters were dispersed by police on Saturday, following four days of protests over the 14-minute American-made movie trailer insulting the Prophet Mohammed that spread throughout the Muslim world.

Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt's uprisings and just a few hundred yards from the American Embassy, was cleared out by police in riot gear early Saturday, Reuters reported

The dispersing of rioters comes a day after the Muslim Brotherhood called for peaceful protests in Egypt, UPI reported

According to Egypt's state news agency, 220 "troublemakers and lawbreakers" were detained Saturday, and 54 people were jailed as they await prosecution over the clashes in front of the Embassy, according to Reuters. 

The protests, which began on Tuesday with angered demonstrators scaling the Embassy's walls and tearing down the American flag, reached a fever pitch after Friday morning prayers when at least 20 countries held protests with varying degrees of violence, the Associated Press reported

More from GlobalPost: In-Depth Series: Rage against America

By mid-morning Saturday, the square was largely emptied, and police continued to survey the area that was the heart of last year's uprising against deposed President Hosni Mubarak, the Los Angeles Times reported

"Our presence here is to clear the square of people who are breaking the law," Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal el-Din said as he inspected the area, Reuters reported. "We must preserve the square as a symbol of the revolution. That is the aim of our operation."

As the Times explained of the protesters' motivations,

Many had not even seen the video, but had a palpable resentment over the lack of opportunity in their society even after a popular uprising had swept away the three-decade reign of Hosni Mubarak. The economic desperation and rudderless political direction has proved a combustible mixture as groups of young men have shown themselves eager to fight authority.

Meanwhile, many of the other protests related to the film also died down as of Saturday, after leaving at least 6 people dead including a 36-year-old father in Cairo, who died from rubber bullet wounds, the UK Press Association reported

Violent protests continued to rage in Sydney, Australia, where riot police clashed with about 200 protesters in front of the US consulate there, UKPA reported.