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Thousands demonstrate in Cairo against Egypt's military rulers

Egyptians take to the streets in the heady weeks leading up to the country's historic presidential election.

Clashes have erupted at a massive demonstration held in Cairo today, with security forces firing tear gas at thousands of Egyptians protesting against the country's ruling military council. 

GlobalPost correspondent Erin Cunningham, who has been reporting live via Twitter from Tahrir Square, says protesters are marching toward the Ministry of Defense, the scene of a deadly confrontation between protesters and unknown attackers earlier this week. Cunningham says authorities are watching the movement closely -- both on the ground and from above: 

Cunningham says the opposition labor movement April 6 is playing a key role in galvanizing the demonstration, tweeting: 

The crowds are reportedly united by a variety of grievances, some blaming the military for clashes several days ago that killed 11 people,according to AP, while others were angered by the generals' recent decision to block the candidacy of several prominent presidential nominees, said Reuters

A raw video feed by Cunningham shows protesters tearing down a baricade in front of the Ministry of Defense in Cairo.

Egypt is set to hold presidential elections May 23-24, but the weeks leading up to the vote have seen a growing power struggle between the country's transitional rulers and the young parliament voted in three months ago. Egypt has been in political turmoil since the overthrow of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak 15 months ago. The upcoming election -- meant to pave the way for the writing of a new constitution -- offers Egyptians their first free election in five millennia, according to Reuters

The vote has become a rallying point for a frustrated nation, tweets Cunningham: 

Parliament, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood's party, has accused the ruling generals of trying to retain power and lawmakers recently threatened to strike in protest. 

More from GlobalPost: After clashes in Cairo, Egypt's military says it will hand over power early

The military on Wednesday announced an earlier-than-planned transfer of power, a move widely seen as a concession to parliament. 

Here is a live stream of Cunningham's tweets from Tahrir:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/120504/thousands-demonstrate-in-cairo-against-egypts-militar