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More than a week of heavy fighting erupted in November, leaving more than 40 dead — but that was largely between police and protesters, with the military keeping a low profile.

In the afternoon, military police charged into Tahrir, swinging truncheons and long sticks, briefly chasing out protesters and setting fire to their tents. Footage broadcast on the private Egyptian CBC television network showed soldiers beating two protesters with sticks, repeatedly stomping on the head of one, leaving the motionless bodies on the pavement.

They trashed a field hospital set up by protesters, swept into buildings where television crews were filming and briefly detained journalists. They tossed the camera and equipment of an Al-Jazeera TV crew off the balcony of a building.

A journalist who was briefly detained told The Associated Press that he was beaten up with sticks and fists while being led to into the parliament building. Inside, he saw a group of detained young men and one woman. Each was surrounded by six or seven soldiers beating him or her with sticks or steel bars or giving electrical shocks with prods.

“Blood covered the floor, and an officer was telling the soldiers to wipe the blood,” said the journalist, who asked not to be identified for security concerns.

The military’s violent response suggested it now felt emboldened. Two rounds of voting — last weekend and in late November — have been held for Egypt’s lower house of parliament, and millions of Egyptians turned out for the freest and fairest elections in the country’s modern history.

The generals appear to be betting that Egyptians engaged in elections have had enough of the multiple protests since Mubarak’s fall and want quiet.

One man arguing with activists in the square said he opposes protests. “Elections were the first step. This was a beginning to stability,” said Ahmed Abdel-Samei, 29. “Now we are going 10 steps back.”

The military shrugged off criticism from a civilian advisory panel that it created only last week to show it was consulting with others. The generals gave no comment after the panel announced it was suspending its operations in protest and demanded the army apologize for the violence.

At least nine people have been killed and around 300 people injured in the two days of clashes, according to the Health Ministry.

“The military council is either fed up or lacks vision in dealing with protests. It’s unbelievable what is happening; the revolution was meant to give us freedom,” said Aboul-Ela Madi, a member of the panel who resigned.

Meanwhile, the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and the more conservative Islamist Salafis focused on following vote counting from the most recent round of elections. The groups have emerged as the biggest winner so far and likely do not want to do anything to disrupt the voting, which continued until March. The Brotherhood has called for the military to apologize but has not urged supporters to join the protests.

“Islamists went after their own interests. The ballot boxes are their interests,” said Ahmed Hussein, a 35-year-old protester. He accused the military of trying to prolong the transition to ensure protection from civilian scrutiny.

As night fell in Tahrir, clashes continued around a concrete wall that the military erected to block the avenue from Tahrir to parliament.

Aya Emad told the AP that troops dragged her by her headscarf and hair into the Cabinet headquarters. The 24-year-old said soldiers kicked her on the ground, an officer shocked her with an electrical prod and another slapped her on the face, leaving her nose broken and her arm in a sling.

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