A stalemate has settled over the Egyptian capital’s Tahrir Square following a day of deadly clashes between security forces and protesters.
The square, which has been the scene of street battles between riot police and activists demanding an end to Egypt’s military leadership, was relatively calm on Sunday night after protesters regained control of the area and began calling for reinforcements.
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said all police and security forces had retreated from the square to side streets and roads in the surrounding the area.
Tadros estimated as many as 3,000 protesters had returned to the square just hours after being dispersed earlier in the day by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
Local doctors said three people were killed in the afternoon’s assault to evict the protesters who were calling on the ruling military to transfer of power to a civilian administration.
Despite the harsh crackdown, demonstrators were regrouping in the square as the night continued. Many were seen clutching gas masks, apparently anticipating further clashes with security forces in the hours, or days, to come.
“It is clear [the protesters] won’t leave and they are very much trying to keep police from re-entering the square,” Tadros said.