Tahrir Square crowds protesters 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square Monday afternoon as
anti-government protests continued for the seventh day, the pan-Arab
broadcaster Al-Jazeera reported.
Protesters ignored the
state-imposed curfew which began at 3 p.m. as a coalition of opposition
groups called for a million people to take to the streets Tuesday to
demand the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the clearest
sign yet that a unified leadership was emerging for Egypt's powerful but
disparate protest movement.
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Monday, Al-Jazeera reported that six of its journalists were in
Egyptian custody after authorities ordered the closure of the network's
Cairo office. By mid-afternoon, the network reported via Twitter that the six were released but that authorities had seized their equipment.
The Qatar-based network said the journalists were
working for its English-language channel — a sister operation to the
flagship Arabic service.
The detentions came a day after Egyptian
authorities shut Al-Jazeera's office, complaining its round-the-clock
coverage was slanted toward protesters and could encourage more unrest
which has reached its seventh day.
Al-Jazeera denounced the
closure as an attempt to muzzle open reporting as anti-government
demonstrations and protests continued. The network had managed to
continue coverage in Egypt with fixed-position cameras and reports by
On Monday morning, Egyptian helicopters were sighted flying above Tahrir Square, CNN reported.
soldiers and armored tanks continued their presence on city streets,
CNN said and Al-Jazeera reported that the military presence in downtown
Cairo "just keeps getting stricter day by day; there's more roadblocks,
more barbed wire, there's more restrictions on who can move about and TV
cameras are more restricted."
In an online audio posting on the
network's Twitter feed, Al-Jazeera "has confirmed that regular police
are redeploying in the city, they're back on the streets...they were
seen at a police station...on the west side of the Nile, southwest of
An Al-Jazeera correspondent said the police were
spotted "at a police station where the civilians on the street
reportedly were not actually unhappy to see them. They were shaking
hands and talking casually, perhaps happily...which might not make
immediate sense since these are the people who are blamed for the deadly
violence that racked the city just days ago but that's what our crews
A leading Muslim Brotherhood official told The
Associated Press that the fundamentalist movement wants to form a
committee of opposition groups along with Nobel laureate and leading
reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei as a way of uniting the disparate
groups calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
Saad el-Katatni said that his group has not selected ElBaradei to represent it.
The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's largest opposition movement,
and wants to form an Islamist state in the most populous Arab nation.
police, which before the revolt could be seen on nearly every corner,
melted away Friday, giving way to looting and arson. Gangs of thugs have
cleared out supermarkets, shopping malls and stores, as well as luxury
homes and apartments in affluent residential areas in the suburbs. On
Monday, police were beginning to redeploy in many neighborhoods.