Egypt police fire tear gas at protesting youths

At least 41 policemen and two civilians were hurt, Egypt's state news agency said, in the first such violence in weeks in Tahrir Square.

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CAIRO // Egyptian police fired tear gas in Cairo's central Tahrir Square on Wednesday at hundreds of mainly young protesters, some of whom threw stones and demanded that trials of former senior officials proceed more swiftly.

Clashes broke out late on Tuesday in a nearby area of Cairo where families of some of the more than 840 people killed in the uprising that led to Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in February had gathered to honour those killed.

At least 41 policemen and two civilians were hurt, the state news agency said. The Interior Ministry said police had arrested seven people, part of a group it said was seeking to disrupt the event and stir up a riot.

It was the first such violence in weeks in Tahrir Square, the centre of the revolt that led to Mr Mubarak being toppled. Police in riot gear and with shields blocked protesters from marching towards the ministry.

Ambulance workers treated people mostly for inhaling tear gas. A"The people are angry that the court cases against top officials keep getting delayed," Ahmed Abdel Hamid, 26, a bakery employee, said at the scene. He clutched stones in his hands.

He said police clashed with some of those gathered at the event to honour the "martyrs", as those killed in the uprising are called. This prompted protesters to move to Tahrir.

"The people want the fall of the regime," some chanted.

Others called for Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council now ruling Egypt, to step down.

The ministry said in a statement that a group of people had been stopped from joining the event at a theatre to honour the "martyrs" and had tried to barge their way in, prompting the police to intervene. The group later moved to Tahrir Square.