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Violence began Saturday morning, as police moved in to clear them.

The Interior Ministry, which runs the country’s police forces, accused people of trying to escalate tensions ahead of the parliamentary elections, which will be held in stages that continue through March.

Activists say they just want to guard the outcome of their revolution.

Unemployed graduate student Nasser Ezzat said he traveled from southern Egypt to Tahrir because he wanted to help finish the revolution that people died for. He came to the square on Friday, leaving behind his a pregnant wife in the city of Sohag.

“I dream of a fairer Egypt for my unborn daughter, one without police harassment and corruption,” he said on Saturday.

Crowds also directed their anger at the police, which were the muscle behind Mubarak’s heavy handed rule.

“This violence is the same as the old regime,” activist Mona Seif said. “Police are telling us they are carrying out orders to beat us until we leave.”

Seif is the sister of prominent blogger and activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who is in jail after refusing to answer questions over his alleged role in sectarian clashes. He leads a campaign to end the trials of civilians in military courts.

Rights groups estimate that up to 12,000 people have been tried in military courts since Mubarak was ousted.

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Associated Press writer Sarah El Deeb contributed to this report.