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Mon 21 Nov 2011 12:30 PM

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Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square

Protests mark the start of a violent countdown to the first elections since Hosni Mubarak's downfall

Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
At least 12 people were killed in clashes between security forces and crowds protesting against Egypt's ruling military council in some of the worst violence since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
With just a week before voting in the first free parliamentary election in decades, the confrontations in the capital Cairo and other cities raised worries about how smooth voting will be (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Egyptian protesters lob stones as they face off against riot police during clashes at Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square on Nov 20, 2011 (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Protesters camped out for a third night on Monday in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the 28-day uprising that ended Mubarak's 30-year rule (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Teargas has rained down on demonstrators and police have beaten them with batons in a bid to end the protest (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Egyptians elect a new parliament in a staggered vote that starts on Nov 28, but even when the assembly is picked, presidential powers remain with the army until a presidential poll, which may not happen until late 2012 or early 2013 (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Angry protesters brandished spent shotgun cartridges and bullet casings on Sunday, although police denied using live rounds (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Police backed by army officers fired salvoes of gas canisters and charged demonstrators in the square as darkness fell on Sunday, temporarily sending protesters fleeing (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
They burned down banners and Internet video clips, which could not be independently checked, showed police beating protesters with sticks, pulling them by the hair and, in one case, dumping what appeared to be a corpse on piles of rubbish (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
The protest has largely been driven by the same youthful activists who galvanised Egyptians to bring down Mubarak, putting national pride before religion (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Egyptian protesters douse fire at Cairo's Tahrir Square during clashes with security forces on November 20, 2011. Deadly clashes broke out in Cairo's Tahrir Square for the second day running, kicking off a violent countdown to the first elections since Hosni Mubarak's downfall. (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Egyptian riot policemen (L) face protesters at Cairo's Tahrir Square on November 20, 2011. Deadly clashes broke out in central Cairo for the second day running, kicking off a violent countdown to the first elections since Hosni Mubarak's downfall. (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
An Egyptian protester tries to put off a fire at Cairo's Tahrir Square during clashes with security forces on November 20, 2011. Deadly clashes broke out in Cairo's Tahrir Square for the second day running, kicking off a violent countdown to the first elections since Hosni Mubarak's downfall. (AFP/Getty Images)
Thousands of protesters seal off Tahrir Square
Egyptian protesters gather at Cairo's Tahrir Square during clashes with security forces on November 20, 2011. Deadly clashes broke out in Cairo's Tahrir Square for the second day running, kicking off a violent countdown to the first elections since Hosni Mubarak's downfall. (AFP/Getty Images)