April 10, 2011
CAIRO — Egypt’s military used force early Saturday to break up a camp of protesters in Tahrir Square, as tensions continued to build between the pro-democracy movement and the military leadership that has run the country since President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February.
Hundreds of troops, firing into the air and attacking protesters with electric batons, swarmed the center of the square to expel several hundred people who had defied a 2 a.m. curfew following a massive but peaceful protest Friday. The overnight protesters had set fire to cars and barricaded their encampment with barbed wire.
Among those who had joined the overnight protesters in the tent camp were a dozen or more uniformed soldiers who had broken ranks to demand that Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces move faster to try Mubarak and members of his regime on corruption charges.
As armored cars and troops swept in shortly after 3 a.m., the protesters, most of whom were young, initially tried to form a human chain to protect the rebellious soldiers in their camp. They scattered when the troops began firing their weapons into the air.