Added by Nigel Shelbourne on March 22, 2011
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was surrounded by pro-Gadaffi demonstrators on Tahrir Square, forcing his convoy to flee into the neighbouring Arab League headquarters.
The 50 or so demonstrators were showing their support for Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi and reacting to the no-fly zone over Libya recently granted by the UN, chanting “Down, Down USA, Libya, Libya” and carrying Gaddafi’s Libyan flag.
Ban’s motorcade was shortly afterwards caught up in a second protest on the square, where hundreds of Egyptians had gathered outside what used to be the foreign ministry to demonstrate for jobs, housing and a better life.
An AFP correspondent said Ban’s convoy was assisted by police and troops in order to make it to a scheduled meeting with the Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.
The visits to the square where protesters forced President Hosni Mubarak off his seat is the latest by a string of international leaders, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Pro-opposition diplomat reported that Gaddafi loyalists and two regime envoys had on Sunday made an attempt at occupying the rebel-controlled mission to the Arab League. They were however evicted by Egyptian troops who also closed down the mission.
Ban and his 15-man strong delegation escaped unhurt from the incident.