Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers swept into Cairo's Tahrir Square today, chasing protesters and beating them to the ground with sticks in the second day of a violent crackdown on anti-military protesters that has left nine dead and about 300 injured. The violent, chaotic scenes have brought to the fore the simmering tensions between the ruling military council that took power after Hosni Mubarak's ouster and activists demanding the generals transfer power immediately to civilians.
Soldiers set fire to tents inside the square, and swept through buildings where television crews were filming from and confiscated their equipment and briefly detained journalists. Egypt's prime minister defended the security forces' response. While he acknowledged that people have died from gunshot wounds, he denied the military and the police had fired at protesters. Instead, he said "a group came from the back and fired at protesters" and that his government is for "the salvation of the revolution."