Despite the Egyptian government’s forceful response — including mass arrests, a ban on protests and the use of batons and tear gas — to demonstrations around the country against President Hosni Mubarak’s administration, the clashes continued Wednesday between police and protesters, although on a smaller scale than the day before. –KA

The New York Times:

The Associated Press, citing unnamed Egyptian security officials, reported that 860 protesters had been arrested since major protests began Tuesday morning, roughly two-thirds of them in Cairo. Many others were in Alexandria. Nadeem Mansour, a human rights advocate at the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in Cairo, said the bulk of the arrests took place overnight.

In contrast to the thousands who marched through Cairo on Tuesday and occupied a central square for hours, the Wednesday gatherings were relatively small. In front of Cairo’s press and lawyer’s syndicate buildings, more than 100 people shouted slogans, outnumbered by a force of security officers. “You’re protecting thieves,” they chanted. Police officers began striking the protesters with bamboo sticks.

There were signs that the crackdown was being carefully calibrated, with security forces wielding their cudgels and sometimes throwing rocks, rather than opening fire.

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