Police open fire as protesters re-gather in Cairo

Eyewitnesses claim that security forces shot at protesters in Egyptian capital angry at President Mubarak's refusal to step down; al-Jazeera reporter claims to see 23 bodies in Alexandia; Mubarak sacks gov't.

January 29, 2011 11:21
2 minute read.
Egyptian protesters clash with riot police in Cair

Egyptian protesters clash with riot police in Cairo 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Hundreds of anti-government protesters returned Saturday to the streets of central Cairo, chanting slogans against Hosni Mubarak just hours after the Egyptian president fired his Cabinet and promised reforms but refused to step down.

The sight of protesters pouring into Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square for a fifth day indicated Mubarak's words in a televised speech shortly after midnight had done little to cool the anger over Egypt's crushing poverty, unemployment and corruption.

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Police opened fire on a number of the protesters according to eyewitness reports, al-Jazeera reported.

Al-Jazeera also reported that one of its correspondents saw 23 bodies at the morgue in the Egyptian city of Alexandria following protests there on Friday.

Overnight, the government called in military forces and by morning the army had replaced police in guarding government buildings and other key areas.

Several tanks were parked in the vast Tahrir Square, but soldiers did not intervene in Saturday's protest there. Not far from the square, the army sealed off the road leading to the parliament and Cabinet buildings.

Along the Nile, smoke was still billowing from the ruling party's headquarters, which protesters set ablaze during Friday's unrest, the most dramatic day of protests since the unrest began on Tuesday.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt

Also Saturday, mobile phone services were restored after a government-ordered communications blackout aimed at stopping Friday's protests. Protesters have used text messaging and social networking websites to coordinate demonstrations.

Vodafone and Mobinil cell phone services were working Saturday morning, about 24 hours after they were cut. Internet service appeared to remain down.

Vodafone said Friday that the Egyptian government had ordered all mobile telephone operators to suspend services "in selected areas" of the country. Britain-based Vodafone Group PLC is one of the largest mobile phone operators in Egypt, with more than 25 million subscribers.

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