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Egyptians wave Egyptian and Tunisian flags as they attend a rally in Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt on Friday Khalil Hamra/AP/Press Association Images

Protests flare in Egypt as demonstrators call for military resignations

At least one person was killed and 71 more were injured as protesters demonstrate against the lack of progress in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak’s departure.

Demonstrators burned cars and barricaded themselves with barbed wire in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, demanding the resignation of the military’s chief hours after troops violently dispersed a protest there, killing at least one and injuring 71.

In the pre-dawn raid on the square, hundreds of soldiers beat protesters with clubs and fired into the air in the square, highlighting the rising tensions between protesters and the military leaders whom they praised in Tahrir two months ago when president Hosni Mubarak fell from power.

Several thousand protesters, some armed with sticks and other makeshift weapons, had moved back into the square by Saturday afternoon.

They vowed not to leave until the defense minister, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, resigns.

Tantawi, a Mubarak appointee, leads the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which rules Egypt now and is made up of the military’s top generals.

Now the overnight clashes resembled the ugliest moments of the 18-day protest movement against Mubarak — with authorities cracking down violence and protesters chanting for the leader’s removal.

Witnesses reported two killed. Ali Mustafa, a car mechanic who was guarding the “free soldiers” tent, said he saw an attacking soldier stab one of the officers to death with his bayonet.

Another protester was shot dead, said Ahmed Gamal, who was there overnight and said he helped carry away the body. He added that he saw at least two others severely injured by live ammunition. The deaths could not be confirmed.

The Health Ministry issued a statement saying only one person was killed and 71 wounded, some of them with gunshot wounds, including three in critical condition.

- AP