CAIRO: Police forces violently broke up pro-Gaza demonstrations in Downtown Cairo for the second consecutive day on Friday.
The protests were scheduled to take place after Friday prayers.
In the Ramsis area huge numbers of central security troops, state security investigations police and plain-clothed policemen were deployed in the area surrounding Al-Fath Mosque ahead of the protests.
The Al-Fath Mosque itself was closed ahead of time.
Men praying in smaller mosques in surrounding streets were surrounded by central security force troops armed with truncheons.
At the conclusion of the prayers the men started chanting pro-Gaza slogans and were immediately forced into a narrow alley by central security.
Clashes then began as the troops attacked the men with their batons.
Groups of men in plain-clothing, some of whom also carrying batons, periodically removed protestors and took them to nearby police lorries.
Daily News Egypt witnessed around 12 men being removed.
Further arrests took place when a different group of men further down the street finished praying and were set upon by a large group of central security force troops.
Police used greater violence outside the Gamaeyya Shareyya mosque on Galaa Street.
When Daily News Egypt arrived at 1:20 pm large numbers of central security troops had surrounded the entrance to the mosque.
Protestors were grouped at the entrance chanting pro-Gaza and religious slogans.
Groups of three to four men in plain-clothing forcibly removed individual protestors who were punched and kicked as they were carried.
Daily News Egypt saw one protestor – who was initially struggling – beaten into unconsciousness by the four men in plain clothing who were removing him.
He was taken to a nearby police lorry, where bystanders urged the police to take him to the hospital.
Two journalists, Per Bjorklund and Al-Badeel photographer Ahmed Murad had their cameras memory cards confiscated by the police.
Meanwhile, police arrested at least 40 members of the Muslim Brotherhood as they prepared to hold anti-Israel protests, security officials told Agence France-Presse.
They were detained in Cairo and the provinces as they prepared to demonstrate after Friday prayers, an official said.
At the capital s Al-Azhar mosque, about 100 demonstrators began chanting slogans against Israel and President Hosni Mubarak.
Dozens of riot police blocked the exits from the mosque when the demonstrators tried to break through.
Some of the police swarmed around one protester who broke through, kicking and beating him with truncheons, an AFP correspondent reported.
At least two protesters were arrested.
The Brotherhood s supreme guide, Mohammed Akef, had called the protests against the Israeli blitz, now in its seventh day, which has killed at least 425 Palestinians.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni held Cairo talks with Mubarak just two days before the launch of the Gaza offensive last Saturday, drawing charges of collusion from opposition sympathizers. -Additional reporting by AFP