Cairo: Pro-Mubarak groups lobbing rocks at protesters
About 500 people injured in recent round of clashes, says al-Arabiya; Gov't supporters take over army vehicles, throw rocks at protesters from buildings, according to reports; gun shots heard at Tahrir square.
By MELANIE LIDMAN, JPOST CORRESPONDENT, AP
February 2, 2011 17:43
4 minute read.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Pro-Mubarak groups took over
three army vehicles and lobbed rocks and other items at anti-government
protestors from surrounding buildings, amid clashes that have
been raging at Tahrir Square since Wednesday afternoon, Al-Jazeera
reported. He said he would serve out the rest of his term working "to accomplish
the necessary steps for the peaceful transfer of power." He said he will
carry out amendments to rules on presidential elections, and vowed not to flee the country.
Witnesses at Tahrir Square also said they heard several shots fired into the air, and water cannons were fired by security officials to try to calm the protests, according to the report.
Al-Arabiya reported that about
500 people were injured in the most recent clashes.
sources suggest Amr Moussa as Mubarak successor
Unrest could change our security reality
Earlier Wednesday, protests in Cairo
turned violent, with protesters throwing large
rocks at each other as pro-Mubarak demonstrators tore down anti-Mubarak
have decorated Tahrir Square for three days. Tanks on the periphery of
the square were starting to move in anticipation of unruly crowds.
Live video broadcast by Al Jazeera showed men on camels and
horseback hitting people in the square with whips as they rode through
the crowds. Pro-government protesters continued to flow into the square, according to reports.
Women and children were hiding behind tanks in the
streets as men in suits threw stones at each other. The protests have
not been this violent in nearly a week.
The army was using tear gas to
disperse crowds although later reports said that the military was standing by, allowing clashes to continue. The military has said several times that it has not and will not use force against Egyptian civilians.
in the central Cairo square have been mostly peaceful since Sunday, the
crowds have also been entirely anti-Mubarak until now. Thousands of the Egyptian
president's supporters were streaming into the square Wednesday afternoon waving flags
and giants posters of the 30-year ruler of Egypt.
Israeli journalists were arrested by Egyptian military police in Cairo
on Wednesday. Three of those arrested work for Channel 2 and the fourth
is from Nazareth.
The issue was being dealt with by the Foreign Ministry.
demonstrators were seen forming a human chain in an attempt to keep
Mubarak supporters from reaching Tahrir Square early Wednesday
Pro-government protesters began taking to the streets in the thousands in the morning, hours after Mubarak made a defiant speech
promising to serve out the last months of his term and to "die on Egyptian
On Wednesday morning, the Egyptian military
called for an end to more than a week of demonstrations demanding
Mubarak step down.
"Your message has arrived, your demands became
known," military spokesman Ismail Etman said on state television in an
address directed to young protesters. "You are capable of bringing
normal life to Egypt."
The Mediterranean city of
Alexandria saw clashes erupt between several hundred protesters and
government supporters early Wednesday, Al-Jazeera television footage
Several thousand people outside Mustafa Mahmoud Mosque in the
upper-class neighborhood of Mohandiseen waved Egyptian flags and carried
a large printed banner with Mubarak's face. Many passing cars honked in
Police officers surrounded the area and directed traffic.
The April 6 group, young pro-democracy activists who have used social
media and mobile phones to draw people to Tahrir Square, said Mubarak's
speech would not satisfy them.
"We will continue our protests in Tahrir Square and around the country
until the people's demands are met,'" the group said in a statement sent
to The Associated Press. "The people want ouster of the regime."
In his 10-minute televised address
to the nation Tuesday night, the 82-year-old Mubarak appeared somber
but spoke firmly and without an air of defeat. He insisted that even if
the protests demanding his ouster had never broken out, he would not
have sought a sixth term in September.
The step came after heavy pressure from his top ally, the United States. Soon after Mubarak's address, US President Barack Obama said at the White House that he had spoken with Mubarak
and "he recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and a change
must take place." Obama said he told Mubarak that an orderly transition
must be meaningful and peaceful, must begin now and must include
Mubarak would be the second Arab leader pushed from office by a popular
uprising in the history of the modern Middle East, following the ouster
last month of the president of Tunisia — another North African nation.
Jpost.com staff contributed to this report