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Egypt Authorities Use Tear Gas to Clear Tahrir Square Protest

University students and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood occupy Tahrir Square in Cairo, Dec. 1, 2013.
Egyptian authorities used tear gas Sunday to disperse protesters who entered Cairo's Tahrir Square to demonstrate against July's military-backed ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.

The brief protest by about 2,000 Islamists came as a 50-member Egyptian committee was voting for a second day on a new draft constitution to replace the constitution implemented by Morsi last year.

The military-backed interim government is presenting the draft constitution as a first step toward a return to democratic rule. The committee plans to present the draft constitution to interim President Adly Mansour by mid-week.

Also on Sunday, the New York based group Human Rights Watch urged Egypt's military-backed government to immediately release from detention five of Morsi's aides. The rights group said the five have been held at an undisclosed location since July 3, the day when the military ousted Morsi after large Tahrir Square protests in opposition to his government.

Separately on Sunday, Egyptian authorities freed the prominent activist Ahmed Maher, founder of one of the groups that spearheaded the revolt against long-time president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. However, prosecutors extended by 15 days the detention of another prominent activist, Alaa Abdel Fattah.

Both men face accusations related to clashes last week between police and demonstrators protesting a clause in the draft constitution that would allow the trial of civilians before military tribunals in some cases.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.