Egyptian protests turn violent
Thousands of supporters and opponents of President Hosni Mubarak battled in Cairo’s main square Wednesday.
At each of the six entrances to the sprawling plaza, the two sides pummeled each other with hurled chunks of concrete and bottles. Some among the more than 3,000 government supporters waved machetes as their anti-Mubarak rivals filled the air with a ringing battlefield din by banging metal fences with sticks.
At one of the fighting’s front lines, next to the famed Egyptian Museum at the edge of Tahrir Square, pro-government rioters blanketed the rooftops of nearby buildings and dumped bricks and firebombs onto the crowd below.
Bloodied young men staggered or were carried into makeshift clinics set up in mosques and alleyways by the anti-government side. Protesters pleaded for protection from soldiers stationed at the square, who refused.
Some protesters wept and prayed in the square where around 10,000 had massed Wednesday morning and where only a day before they had held a joyous, peaceful rally of a quarter-million, the largest yet in more than a week of demonstrations demanding Mubarak leave power.