Cairo: Egypt's ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi paid a surprise visit to Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday, the epicentre of protests against him last month, after it was re-opened to traffic.

Tantawi's visit was "to make sure that traffic was running smoothly in the square," where protesters gathered to force former dictator Hosni Mubarak from power in February, the state-owned Al-Ahram paper reported on its website."

Last month, protesters had again occupied the iconic square in central Cairo to demand the ouster of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces headed by Tantawi.

Fierce clashes between police and protesters on the outskirts of the square left 45 people dead.

Sunday's trip to Tahrir was only the second public appearance by Tantawi.

In September, the military ruler took a walk in central Cairo in civilian clothes and with no personal security in tow, sparking widespread speculation that he was seeking to run for president.