This marked the most violent demonstration in Tahrir Square since the
ouster of Mubarak, scheduled to face trial in August. Opposition sources
said the reorganized Egyptian police also came out in full force to quell
unrest, a role that had been given to the army for the first few months of
the military regime.
"The people want the fall of the regime," protesters chanted.
The Interior Ministry acknowledged the police violence. A ministry
statement said a riot was organized by unidentified stone-throwers
who sought to march toward security headqaurters. Seven people were reported
"This constitutes a test for the youth of the revolution and its
leaders," Prime Minister Issam Sharaf said.
The clash marked growing tension between the pro-democracy movement and
the military regime, led by Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi. The escalation
took place amid the defection of the Muslim Brotherhood from the opposition
and its alliance with the new regime.
Opposition sources said the military regime appeared to be withdrawing
from its commitment to democracy and accountability. On June 30, an Egyptian
court postponed a verdict in the trial of two police officers charged with
beating to death a 28-year-old man, Khaled Said, in 2010.
"His case highlights the widely shared belief that the Egyptian
authorities are still not doing enough to deliver justice — not only for
Khaled Said but for all those unlawfully killed and injured by the security
forces during the mass protests earlier this year," Malcolm Smart, director
of the Middle East program at Amnesty International, said.
"This belief is
exacerbated by the slowness with which the authorities are handling trials
of police officers accused of killing protesters during the uprising, when
more than 800 died, and the fact that many of those facing trial have not
been suspended from active duty and remain in positions where they can
intimidate witnesses and subvert justice."