Police injured in 'martyr' clashes

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Police in central Cairo fired tear gas yesterday at hundreds of mainly young stone-throwing Egyptians demanding that trials of former senior officials from the Mubarak era proceed faster.

Clashes broke out late on Tuesday in an area of the capital where some families of the more than 840 people killed in the February uprising held an event to honour those dead.

Youths said police clashed with them during the event to honour "martyrs", the term used to describe the demonstrators killed in the protests. The interior ministry said it intervened when a group that was not invited tried to barge into the gathering. At least 41 policemen and four civilians were injured in the violence that continued into yesterday in Tahrir Square and near the interior ministry, the state news agency said.

Early in the morning young men, many stripped to the waist, were still hurling stones at police near the ministry as commuters went to work. "I am here today because I heard about the violent treatment of the police to the protesters last night," said Magdy Ibrahim, 28, an accountant at the Banque du Caire.

By early yesterday afternoon the crowds around the ministry had been dispersed. Eight ambulances were in Tahrir and the police had left the square. The clashes were the first such violence in weeks in Tahrir Square, the centre of the revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak.