Egyptian soldiers with batons have charged into Tahrir Square, the focal point of anti-military demonstrations in the capital, on the second day of violent clashes with protesters.
The renewed fighting on Saturday came a day after eight people were killed and more than 300 others injured when soldiers stormed an anti-military protest camp outside the parliament building, a short distance from Tahrir.
Soldiers reportedly fired into the air on Saturday as they pushed into the square, while thick black smoke filled the skies following the eruption of a fire in the area around Egypt’s upper house of parliament.
Activists said the clashes originally erupted on Thursday evening after the police beat-up a young man participating in a sit-in protest outside the cabinet building.
Hundreds of people then poured onto the streets in support of the protesters demanding an end to military rule.
They threw rocks and fire-bombs at the military police, who responded by throwing rocks at protesters and used water cannon to disperse the protesters. The police force also torched protester tents overnight.
Egyptian protesters want the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, which took control after the February revolution, to hand over power to a civilian government.