Round Two of the Muslim Arab uprising in Egypt rages for the third straight day, with a death toll of 23 Monday. More than 30 have died and 1,500 have been wounded since clashes between the army and protesters three days ago. The number of deaths is expected to rise sharply.
The scene at Tahrir Square in Cairo resembles that of eight months ago, when tens of thousands protested day and night against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Since his ouster, many demonstrators feel nothing has changed except the faces, with the autocratic Mubarak being replaced by a group of generals trying to retain their grip on power before scheduled elections.
Egyptian troops, using the same brute force employed earlier this year, clubbed and tear-gassed protesters who began rioting after police dismantled a protest tent.
Rioters set police motorcycles on fire and refused to surrender control of Tahrir Square despite riot-dispersing tactics.
Imitating the response of Syrian President Bashar Assad to the crushing of peaceful protests, a regime official said that security forces were defending themselves against “armed thugs” and not peaceful demonstrators.
The regime also claimed that soldiers and police did not enter Tahrir Square, despite videos of hundreds of security forces in riot gear. The radical Muslim Brotherhood, which is gaining popularity, blamed the military regime for the violence
The military regime has scheduled legislative elections for next week but has not declared an exact date when it will step down from power. Presidential elections are supposed to be held next year.
Political parties from a wide spectrum are opposed to the proposals for a constitution that they say undermines freedom and are designed to keep the military in power..
Violence spread to the Sinai Peninsula, where terrorists killed one policeman and wounded another after an attempted arrest of terrorists suspected of attacking the pipeline that transports natural gas from Egypt to Jordan and Israel.