Violent protests continue to grip Egypt

Jan. 27, 2011 at 3:34 PM
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CAIRO, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Protests troubled Egypt for a third day as organizers called for street demonstrations to honor those killed and arrested, officials said.

Thursday's unrest claimed a seventh fatality in the Sinai Peninsula where a protester was shot in the head, al Masry-al-Youm said. Demonstrators torched a local police station in Suez, The Egyptian Gazette said.

Organizers expect tens of thousands to take to the streets Friday after noon prayers and participate in "The Friday of Martyrs and Political prisoners" to honor those killed in the violent clashes that have injured hundreds and led to the arrests of up to 1,000, Ahram Online said.

"We will pray for the souls of the dead, and the release of the detainees and then go out to demonstrate our rage," Abdel Halim Qandil, coordinator of the Kifaya movement, told the Web site. "The people who participated in last Tuesday's protests will come out again and the people who didn't now feel brave enough to go out and join. What happened last Tuesday gave people hope that they can achieve change."

Violent clashes erupted in Cairo, Suez and Ismailiya, The Egyptian Gazette said.

Several opposition movements and political parties as well as youth groups are among those organizing Friday's mass protest, Ahram Online said. They include the 6th of April Movement, Ayman Nour's Al-Ghad Party, the Democratic Front Party, Kifaya, Khalid Said supporters, ElBaradei's National Association for Change and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Web site said.

Armored troop carriers rumbled throughout downtown Cairo early Thursday, scattering small groups of protesters who defied a government ban on public gatherings and demanded the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, throwing stones at police, who responded with tear gas.

Other activists remained on the streets of the seaport town of Suez after setting a government building on fire Wednesday night, witnesses told the BBC. Protesters threw gasoline bombs at the Suez office of Mubarak's National Democratic Party but did not set it on fire when police fired tear gas at them.

At least 55 people in Suez were injured, officials said.

A police officer and a protester were killed in Cairo late Wednesday, but authorities denied those deaths were tied to the protests, the BBC said. At least four people were killed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Protests in Alexandria, Egypt's second-largest city, were quashed a day after demonstrators tore down a Mubarak portrait, The New York Times reported.

More than 900 protesters have been rounded up nationwide since Tuesday, security officials said.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs would not say whether Washington still supports Mubarak but said Egypt remains a "strong ally."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Egypt to "respond to the legitimate needs" of the people and not crack down on the anti-government crowds.

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