CAIRO – Thousands of supporters of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak clashed violently with opposition protesters after marching into an anti-regime rally in Tahrir Square on Wednesday, witnesses and an AFP correspondent said.
Protesters from both sides threw stones at each other in the divided square, the epicentre of opposition demonstrations now in their ninth day.
The clashes were centred in front of the world famous Egyptian Museum.
Soldiers surrounding the square took cover from the projectiles, and the windows of at least one army truck were broken. Some troops stood on tanks and appealed for calm but did not otherwise intervene.
An AFP reporter said several people had been injured.
“The pro-Mubarak NDP (National Democratic Party) and the secret police dressed in plain clothes, they invaded the place to get rid of the revolt,” protester Mohammed Zomor, 63, told AFP.
Fighting took place around army tanks deployed in the square, with stones bouncing off the armoured vehicles.
Several groups were involved in fist fights, and some were using clubs.
The opposition said plain-clothes policemen stormed the square.
“Members of security forces dressed in plain clothes and a number of thugs have stormed Tahrir Square,” three opposition groups said in a statement.