Violence Continues in Cairo

Violence continues in Cairo's Tahrir Square as protesters are attacked amid complaints about police corruption.

Chana Ya'ar , | updated: 9:00 PM

Protesters in Tahrir Square (2011)
Protesters in Tahrir Square (2011)
Israel news photo: WikiCommons

Violence is continuing in Cairo's Tahrir Square despite ongoing changes in Egypt's government.

The Egyptian military forcibly removed hundreds of protesters from the area Wednesday after dozens of gang members attacked the demonstrators for the second time in 24 hours. Gunshots rang out in the square in the afternoon hours, but it was not clear who was firing the weapons, according to the Associated Press.

At least 44 people were wounded Tuesday night as protesters camping out in the square were attacked. Eyewitnesses told reporters the violence came from supporters of the security apparatus formerly attached to ex-President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

One of the primary grievances fueling the protests that toppled Mubarak's government was a complaint over police corruption and abuse of power.

Several thousand protesters have refused to leave Tahrir Square since the demonstrations began January 24, insisting they will stay until promised reforms are fully implemented.

Protesters are pressuring the country's Supreme Military Council to dissolve the emergency law and free all political prisoners. They are also demanding the establishment of a new constitution, free elections, more jobs, higher wages and lower food prices.

Mubarak's Assets Frozen, Travel Banned
Meanwhile, the country's Criminal Court upheld a travel ban on the former president, and approved a freeze on his assets and those of his family.

The freeze on property owned by Mubarak, his wife Suzanne, sons Ala'a and Gamal and their wives and children, was ordered on February 28 by Attorney General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud. The order included “movable properties, real estate, stocks, bonds and various financial assets” and blocked the family from leaving the country.

Attorney Samir Shishtawi told CNN he has filed an appeal of the decision.

Mubarak, who was reported several weeks ago to be receiving treatment for cancer while living on a military base in Saudi Arabia, is more recently believed to be at his home in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. He resigned from office on February 11 after it became clear the protests against his 31-year reign were escalating.

Presidential Candidates Rising
Several candidates are stepping up in hopes of replacing him, among them Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). ElBaradei was cautious in his dealings with Iran during his tenure as IAEA chief. The Nobel Peace laureate confirmed his candidacy this week on ONTV, a private Egyptian television channel, saying he would work for education and health care for all, especially the poor.

Another contender for the post is Amr Moussa, head of the Arab League and former Egyptian Foreign Minister. Moussa hinted in an interview on Tuesday that he would maintain Egypt's peace treaty with Israel and work to transform the country into a modern democracy.

A third possible candidate is Ahmed Zewail, an Egyptian-American scientist and winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.