Skip to main content

Witness:Security forces disperse protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square

By the CNN Wire Staff
Egyptian protesters in Cairo's Tahrir square on July 29. Egyptian security forces dispersed demonstrators on Monday August 1.
Egyptian protesters in Cairo's Tahrir square on July 29. Egyptian security forces dispersed demonstrators on Monday August 1.
  • NEW: Traffic is flowing through the square
  • Most of the protesters left peacefully
  • Police did not use tear gas or water cannon
  • The protesters have been camping at the square since early last month

Cairo (CNN) -- Egyptian security forces moved into Cairo's Tahrir Square on Monday, dispersing the protesters gathered there and beating those who did not leave voluntarily, according to a witness with activists in the square.

"They went in and they just kind of threatened people," said Barak Barfi of the New America Foundation. He said most people left peacefully, and while police beat those who did not, they did not use tear gas or water cannon on the protesters as they have in the past. The security forces tore down tents, he said.

Army and police moved into the square and removed all protesters and tents, said Said Salem, spokesman for one of Egypt's "popular committees" -- groups formed by citizens in the wake of the revolution. Traffic was flowing through the square afterward, he said. Eyewitnesses reported that security forces beat and arrested several protesters and what sounded like gun shots could be heard.

Throngs of pro-democracy activists have been camped out on the square, which served as ground zero for demonstrations that eventually forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down in February after three decades in power.

Protesters returned July 8, frustrated by what they see as the slow pace of change. They are demanding speedy trials of police officers accused of killing protesters during the demonstrations that topped Mubarak; the end of military tribunals; the abolition of the emergency law; and economic reforms such as the establishment of a minimum wage.

Muslims around the world ushered in Ramadan on Monday, and the number of protesters in the square was smaller than in recent days, Barfi said. On Sunday, 26 political parties and protest movements issued a statement saying they would suspend their demonstrations "temporarily."

Part of complete coverage on
'Sons of Mubarak' in plea for respect
Pro-Mubarak supporters believe Egypt's former president is innocent of charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Timeline of the conflict in Libya
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.
Who are these rebels?
After months of seeming stalemate, Libyan rebels declared they were moving in on Tripoli. But who are they?
Why NATO's Libya mission has shifted
Six months and more than 17,000 air sorties after it began, NATO's Operation Unified Protector in the skies over Libya grinds on.
Interactive map: Arab unrest
Click on countries in CNN's interactive map to see the roots of their unrest and where things stand today.
Send your videos, stories
Are you in the Middle East or North Africa? Send iReport your images. Don't do anything that could put you at risk.
Libya through Gadhafi's keyhole
Behind the official smiles for the cameras some people in Libya's capital are waiting for the rebels, reports CNN's Ivan Watson.
How Arab youth found its voice
Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi not only ignited a series of revolts but heralded the first appearance of Arab youth on the stage of modern history.