Egypt: Cairo's Tahrir Square sees rival groups clash

Tahrir Square was the symbolic heart of anti-Mubarak protests

Hundreds of people with sticks and knives have clashed with pro-democracy activists in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Stones were thrown by both sides in the square, and at least two people were reportedly injured.

The people who entered Tahrir reportedly wanted to force the activists out of the square - the heart of recent anti-government protests.

Meanwhile, reformist Mohammed ElBaradei said he intended to run in presidential elections expected later this year.

"When the door of presidential nominations opens, I intend to nominate myself," the Nobel laureate and former head of the UN nuclear watchdog told Egypt's ONTV television.

Mr ElBaradei said he would vote against constitutional amendments if they were put to a referendum on 19 March, and called for a new constitution.

'Return to normality'

"Hundreds of men carrying knives and swords entered Tahrir," the AFP news agency quoted a report on Egypt's state TV as saying.

The TV channel showed footage of hundreds of people involved in a stand-off and throwing stones at each other.

"A group of gangsters attacked us with stones, they seemed to be wanting us to leave the square," Gamal Hussein, one of the pro-democracy protesters, later told Reuters.

Later on Wednesday, army officers were seen removing demonstrators' tents and asking them to leave the square.

Groups of activists have continued to gather in Tahrir Square even after mass protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down last month.

They are demanding a complete break with the Mubarak regime.

But critics say it is time for life to return to normal in the Egyptian capital.

Insecurity has been rife across Egypt after police disappeared from the streets of major cities during the mass protests.

On Tuesday, at least 13 people died and 140 were injured in clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians in Cairo.

Egypt's military, currently governing the country, has struggled to keep control of the situation.

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