Death toll rises from clashes in Cairo

The New York Times reports: The death toll from renewed violence in Egypt’s capital rose overnight as clashes between Egyptian soldiers and protesters entered a second day on Saturday.

According to media reports, soldiers swept into Tahrir Square here on Saturday, chasing protesters and beating them with sticks.

Early Saturday, according to The Associated Press, hundreds of protesters hurled stones at security forces who sealed off the streets around Parliament with barbed wire and large concrete blocks. Soldiers on rooftops pelted the crowds below with stones, prompting many of the protesters to pick up helmets, satellite dishes or sheets of metal to try to shield themselves.

Reuters reported that protesters fled into side streets to escape the troops in riot gear, who grabbed people and battered them repeatedly even after they had been beaten to the ground.

Stones, dirt and shattered glass littered the streets downtown, while flames leapt out of the windows of a two-story building set ablaze near Parliament, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky, according to media reports. Soldiers set fire to tents inside the square, The A.P. reported, and swept through buildings where television crews were filming from and confiscated their equipment and briefly detained journalists.

In footage filmed by Reuters one soldier in a line of charging troops drew a pistol and fired a shot at retreating protesters.

The clashes began in the center of Cairo on Friday and at vote-counting centers around the country, preceding a decision by a new civilian advisory council to suspend its operations. That move, embarrassing to the country’s military rulers, was done in protest over the military’s deadly but ineffective treatment of peaceful demonstrators.

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