Ahmad Maher, a symbol of the popular uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, turned himself in to the authorities on Saturday after an order for his arrest was made for defying a tough new law restricting demonstrations.
The protest law, passed a week ago by the army-backed interim government, has provoked an outcry among rights groups. The army deposed elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, following mass protests against his rule, and the country has seen widespread unrest since.
Maher and around 100 supporters made their way to Abdeen court, chanting: "Down down with military rule. I'll write on the prison wall that army rule is a shame and a betrayal."
Clashes broke out between security forces and activists outside the court after Maher turned himself in to prosecutors. Police fired tear gas and used their batons to disperse the crowd.
On Thursday police arrested activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, also renowned for his role in the anti-Mubarak uprising. Both Abdel Fattah and Maher were issued arrest warrants after they joined demonstrations outside parliament to defy the protest law.
The new law gives the Interior Ministry the right to ban any meeting of more than 10 people in a public place. Liberals and activists who backed Morsi's overthrow are becoming more vocal against the military, which has pursued a tough security crackdown against Islamists, in which hundreds have been killed and more than 2,000 arrested, including Morsi.
Security forces accuse Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters of having links with terrorism and violence. The group denies it and accuses the army of staging a military coup.