Egyptian riot police today clashed with hundreds of protesters who were prevented from staging a long-term sit-in at the iconic Tahrir Square here to highlight their demand for faster pace of political reforms in the post-Mubarak period.
Security forces used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, sparking violent clashes between riot police and people seeking to take over the square in the heart of the capital, leading to injury to large number of protesters, witnesses said.
Takadom Khalifa, one of the protesters, said the scene resembled the one during the 18-day uprising of the February revolution that forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down.
"It is as if Mubarak has not even stepped down. The Supreme Council for Armed Forces adopted the method of Mubarak's security forces," he underlined.
The state-run television reported that seven security personnel were injured in "confrontations" at the square.
In a statement, Ministry of Interior confirmed the number of security personnel injured, saying several warnings had been issued to the protesters.
The statement also said that five activists were arrested.
The protesters used the social media to appeal to the people to take over the square "to protect their fellow protesters" amid the crackdown on the people assembled in the heart of the capital.
Thousands of protesters had gathered in Tahrir Square yesterday to denounce the ruling military council, which has been heavily criticized for delay in political reforms and transition to civilian rule.
While the anti-government rally yesterday was dominated by Islamists, the sit-in appeared to be staged mostly by members of left- and liberal-leaning revolutionary youth groups.
The protests come as the country is set for the crucial parliamentary elections only 10 days away.