CAIRO, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The Egyptian vice president said Thursday that democratic transformation takes time as unrest continued on the streets of Cairo.
Foreign journalists were beaten and arrested in the latest wave of unrest plaguing major metropolitan areas in Egypt. Political violence intensified despite a Tuesday promise by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to not seek re-election this year after three decades in power.
Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said Thursday on state television that democratic transformation takes time despite suggestions from the international community that now is the time for Mubarak to step down.
Suleiman added that the time was ripe for Egypt's main opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, to join the political dialogue.
"We invited the Muslim Brotherhood ... but they are hesitant ... this is a very important opportunity that they should not lose," he was quoted by al-Jazeera as saying.
The Muslim Brotherhood is banned from competing openly as a political group, though its members took 20 percent of the seats in Parliament in 2005 by running as independents. The group was eliminated from Egyptian political scene in November elections widely criticized as unfair by the international community.
Muslim Brotherhood leaders joined members of the international community in saying it was time for Mubarak to go.
"We demand that this regime is overthrown and we demand the formation of a national unity government for all the factions," the opposition group was quoted by the Arab broadcaster as saying.
Egyptian tanks were seen keeping pro- and anti-government protesters separated as the unrest continued into Thursday.
Egyptian Health Minister Ahmad Samih Farid told state television eight people were killed and 900 injured in fighting Wednesday and early Thursday, Egyptian daily newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported.