Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers swept into Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday, chasing protesters and beating them to the ground with sticks and tossing journalists' TV cameras off of balconies in the second day of a violent crackdown on anti-military protesters that has left nine dead and hundreds injured.
Footage broadcast on the private Egyptian CBC television network showed soldiers beating two protesters with sticks, repeatedly stomping on the head of one, before leaving the motionless bodies on the pavement.
Egypt coverage on Ynetnews:
- Cairo violence: Egypt's PM defends armed forces
Clashes, more deaths in Cairo despite democracy pledge
Op-ed: Arabs in love with anarchy
Early Saturday, hundreds of protesters in Egypt's capital hurled stones at security forces, who set up a concrete wall and barbed wire to seal off streets between Tahrir and the nearby parliament building. Soldiers on rooftops pelted the crowds below with stones, prompting many of the protesters to pick up helmets, satellite dishes or sheets of metal to try to shield themselves.
Witnesses said soldiers wielding batons and dressed in riot gear then chased protesters through the streets and into Tahrir Square, which served as the epicenter of the uprising that toppled Mubarak in February. Soldiers set fire to tents inside the square, and swept through buildings where television crews were filming from and confiscated their equipment and briefly detained journalists.
In one case, soldiers charged up the stairs of a hotel from which Al-Jazeera TV was filming the turmoil below and demanded a female hotel worker tell them where the media crew was or else they would beat her up, a member of the Al-Jazeera crew said.
"The woman was screaming and saying I don't know," the crew member said speaking on condition of anonymity because of security concerns. The plainclothes soldiers found the Al-Jazeera crew members and threw their equipment from the balcony, including cameras, batteries and lighting equipment to the streets.
Protester Islam Mohammed said that he saw the army forces storming a field hospital held next to a mosque in Tahrir Square and throwing medicine and equipment to the streets before chasing protesters away from the square.
At least nine people have been killed and around 300 people injured in the two days of clashes, the Health Ministry said.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop