CAIRO — Several hundred Egyptian protesters hurling rocks and battling tear gas clashed with security forces for a second day Wednesday outside the Interior Ministry as the demonstrators pressed for swifter trials for officials accused of brutality during the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
It was the worst violence in downtown Cairo in months and revealed the deep mistrust and anger many Egyptians harbor for the state and its police. The number of protesters was relatively small, but the rage flowing through the streets startled riot police who fought off stones and a few Molotov cocktails.
No high-profile activists or opposition figures immediately joined the crowd, which consisted mostly of young men roaming across scattered rocks and broken glass between Tahrir Square and the Interior Ministry a few blocks away. Some of them called for Gen. Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council ruling the country, to step down. About 1,000 people were injured, most with minor cuts and scrapes, according to the Health Ministry.
Police blamed the two days of rioting on youths who were turned away from a theater Tuesday before a small ceremony to honor those who died in the revolution. Authorities said young men then quickly gathered in Tahrir Square. Several thousand protesters, including families of martyrs, were attacked overnight by heavy volleys of tear gas and hundreds of riot police.
Large groups of demonstrators returned later Wednesday afternoon and battled police, who set up barricades outside the Interior Ministry. Security forces closed roads and pushed the protesters back toward the square. By early evening, two tents had been set up in Tahrir but the number of protesters diminished as the city prepared for a big soccer match.
LIBYA: Libyan officials say government forces remain in control of areas around a mountain range southwest of Tripoli that rebel fighters claim they are using as a base to advance toward the capital. Rebel fighters based in the western Nafusa mountains have been slowly solidifying their hold, forming a second front against Moammar Gadhafi's troops, who are also battling rebels in the east.
SYRIA: Syrian tanks and helicopters swept through a rebellious northwestern province, shelling at least one village and killing four people. The military shelled Rameh village to quell protests against President Bashar Assad in the area. Hundreds of residents fled the village.
YEMEN: A Yemeni air force jet mistakenly bombed a bus in a southern city controlled by Islamic militants and suspected al-Qaida members, killing four, while clashes between militants and soldiers on the ground left 23 dead on both sides.
BAHRAIN: Bahrain's king said an independent commission will investigate allegations that protesters' rights were violated during the deadly crackdown on anti-government unrest. The announcement comes as Sunni rulers are trying to open reconciliation talks with the Shiite-led opposition.