- Middle East/North Africa
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil opened Tahrir Square to traffic on Thursday, according to state-run MENA news agency. During his tour of the square, the fourth such visit in four days, Qandil reporetedly ordered the removal of some iron barriers placed by demonstrators, which had blocked traffic through the area during recent protests.
Demonstrators had already allowed some vehicles to access the traffic circle earlier that morning.
The prime minister also met with security forces stationed in the square and ordered them to prevent further acts of vandalism against public and private properties.Security forces have also been ordered to remove barriers near the Qasr al-Nil Bridge and Falaky Street entrances to the square.
However, entry from Qasr al-Aini and Mohamed Mahmoud streets, as well as the connecting road in front of the Egyptian Museum, remain blocked.
Gridlock near the midan eased slightly after some of the blockades were removed. Protesters helped by directing traffic to prevent congestion.
Thursday is the first day of calm in the square since clashes broke out last week following the second anniversary of 2011 January 25 revolution. On Wednesday, clashes were fiercest near Simon Bolivar Square and along the Corniche near Qasr al-Nil bridge.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm and MENA