Cairo protests  - AP - November 23 2011
Egyptian protesters set a fire during clashes with security forces near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, late November 23, 2011. Photo by AP
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Cairo protesters are calling for elections scheduled for Monday to be postponed, and are preparing for violent confrontation with the Egyptian security forces.

Tens of thousands of protesters crowded Tahrir Square and its surrounding streets in downtown Cairo on Wednesday night, announcing that they will stay until the Military Council sets a date for the transfer of power to civilian authority.

Under the current conditions it is pointless to hold elections with the army unwilling to relinquish its powers, they said.

Dozens of stands sprung up around the square, selling gas masks and face masks. Protesters were buying these being to protect themselves in case of police tear gas.

A still more radical group of young protesters, sporting t-shirts reading “I too am prepared to become a martyr,” was preparing Molotov cocktails.

“At first we trusted the army, believing they are protecting us from Mubarak’s police, but now, it is clear that they intend to steal the revolution right from under us – We are here to make sure that that doesn’t happen. If need be, we will die as our friends have,” one of them said.

Meanwhile, the police pulled back from the square, but are continuing to direct traffic to the area, limiting the space available to protesters.

In a nearby street clashes continued, with several of the injured taken to the first-aid station put up in Tahrir Square.

Most of the protesters are secular youth, but Islamists are also present and designated praying areas have been assigned.

“At this point this is not a sectarian issue, we are all Egyptians here to preserve the revolution paid for in blood,” one Islamist protester said.

According to an Al Jazeera television report on Thursday, the violence has led the interior minister Mansour el-Essawy, to propose postponing elections, which are due on November 28.

The report quoted unnamed sources. It was not immediately possible to verify the report.

Wednesday was the sixth night of unrest in Egypt, with riot police firing barrages of tear gas at hardcore protesters demanding Egypt's army relinquish power.

קראו כתבה זו הבעברית: אם צריך, נמות כמו החברים שלנו״, אומרים ההמונים בכיכר תחריר