Some early reporting from Al Jazeera after the violence overnight in Cairo. Violence escalates in Cairo square : Bursts of heavy gunfire aimed at anti-government demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square, left at least five people dead and
February 3, 2011

Some early reporting from Al Jazeera after the violence overnight in Cairo.

Violence escalates in Cairo square :

Bursts of heavy gunfire aimed at anti-government demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir [Liberation] Square, left at least five people dead and several more wounded, according to reports from the Egyptian capital on Thursday.

Sustained bursts of automatic weapons fire and powerful single shots began at around around 4am local time (2.00GMT) and was ongoing more than an hour.

Pro-democracy protest organiser, Mustafa el-Naggar, who's in Tahrir Square, said the gunfire came from at least three locations in the distance. He said the Egyptian military entered the square with tank squads to try to keep some order, but did not intervene.

An Al Jazeera online producer in Tahrir Square witnessed doctors attending to two gunshot victims, one who was shot in the head. "There was a puddle of blood on the concrete beneath the man ... but he still had a pulse and might survive," our producer said.

The gunfire marks an escalation of tensions, which began on Wednesday when supporters of embattled president Hosni Mubarak charged into Tahrir Square - some on horses and some on camels - clashing with pro-democracy demonstrators gathered there.

Protesters from both sides fought pitched battles in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of ongoing demonstrations against Hosni Mubarak, which entered their tenth day on Thursday.

Pro-Mubarak supporters also threw Molotov cocktails and homemade bombs at opposition protesters, who erected makeshift barricades around the square. Our online producer there visited an ad hoc 'prison' where protesters had captured around six pro-Mubarak supporters.

The Egyptian army reportedly also arrested several people following the violence early on Thursday, however the numbers were unconfirmed. Read on...

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