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Egypt protesters supported

Jan. 29, 2011 at 9:22 PM   |   Comments

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CAIRO, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named a vice president Saturday as protests against his autocratic rule erupted for a fifth day.

Thousands of people ignored a 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew in Cairo and remained in the streets, the Los Angeles Times reported. While most demonstrations were peaceful, looting and arson spread in some neighborhoods.

"We want a government elected by the people, not a government dictated to the people," The Washington Post quoted one protester, Mohammed Ramadan, 40, as saying.

Rallies to express solidarity with the Egyptian protesters were held in numerous cities around the world Saturday, CNN reported.

In London, people chanted and waved banners outside the Egyptian Embassy. One sign read: "From The Nile, To the Sea -- Egypt Soon Will Be Free! Freedom for Egypt!"

"People were clearly voicing their anger at President Mubarak's regime but similarly they were also very passionate about their demands for democracy and political reforms," Amedeo d'Amore, who was at the London protest, told CNN.

In Geneva, Switzerland, people chanted "Get out, Mubarak!" Courtney Radsch, who attended the demonstration, told the U.S. news network.

Rallies also were reported in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, as well as in U.S. cities.

The Post said many of the Egyptian protesters don't see the United States as their ally in their efforts to send Mubarak packing.

"We didn't expect much from the United States," Abdel Nasser Awad, 40, told the Post. "We are not people looking for war. We are looking for freedom."

Another protester, Emad Abdel Halim, 31, said the demonstrators "believe America is against us."

"Until now, [U.S. President Barak] Obama didn't talk to the Egyptian people. He didn't support the Egyptian people," Halim said.

Mubarak selected Omar Suleiman, head of the General Intelligence Directorate, as vice president, the first he has had in 30 years in power. The move appeared to be a signal Mubarak has no intention of stepping down, the Times said.

Few police were visible in Cairo, and some opposition leaders said the government is trying to create anarchy. Soldiers at demonstrations did little to rein them in and appeared friendly to the protesters.

"The government is trying to transform the people's revolution into looting mobs so they can justify cracking down," Cairo University Professor Mahael Said told the Times. "But we are not going to let them do that."

The government said at least 62 people had died in the past two days.

The New York Times said the army, which moved into Cairo in force Friday, had appeared content to stand by and monitor the situation rather than enforce a widely ignored curfew; however, police riot squads took a more aggressive stance and pummeled protesters with tear gas and water cannon.

The Post said the demonstrations remained largely secular in nature despite the long-running bad blood between Mubarak's government and fundamentalist Muslim groups.

Internet and cellphone service remained largely unavailable Saturday due to a shutdown implemented by the government.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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