(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The head of the Egyptian opposition Wafd party on Friday called for a period of
transitional rule in Egypt, new parliamentary elections and amendments
to the constitution limiting presidential terms, Reuters reported.
In the latest day of protests, al-Jazeera reported that the
number of people who died in the Egyptian city of Suez rose to 11,
bringing the total number of people killed to 16.
Nearly 20 people were also reportedly injured in the protests in Suez, with over 900 people injured throughout the country.
Earlier, five people were confirmed dead in protests in Cairo.
As protests continued into the night, Egyptian authorities were reportedly holding talks to establish a "transitional
government," following the series of deadly protests against President
Hosni Mubarak's regime.
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Earlier Friday, Egyptian state television said Mubarak imposed a curfew on Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez after violent demonstrations there.
Egypt's military was also deployed on the streets of Cairo for the first time since the protests began four days ago.
Parts of the ruling party headquarters in Cairo were going up in flames apparently set by enraged protesters demanding Mubarak's ouster.
Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei joined the protests earlier Friday and was then arrested by police and placed under house arrest.
ElBaradei and his supporters were forced to hide inside a mosque while hundreds of riot police laid siege to it, firing tear gas in the streets around so no one could leave.
One of the leaders of the opposition, Ayman Nour of the "El-Ghad"
movement, also sustained a head injury from a stone, said al-Jazeera.
Friday's protests saw tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators pouring into the streets, stoning and confronting police who fired back with rubber bullets and tear gas in the most violent and chaotic scenes yet in the challenge to Mubarak's 30-year rule.
Groups of thousands of protesters, some chanting "out, out, out," gathered at different venues across Cairo, some marching toward major squares and across scenic Nile bridges. Security officials said there were protests in at least 11 of the country's 28 provinces.
The protesters have said they are emboldened by the uprising in Tunisia, another north African Arab nation. Egypt is Washington's closest Arab ally, but Mubarak may be losing US support. The Obama administration has publicly counseled Mubarak to introduce reforms and refrain from using violence against the protesters.The
United States said the situation in Egypt is of "deep concern" and called on Egyptian authorities to enact reforms and allow peaceful
protests and open communication as anti-government street protests
An Obama administration official said that the US will review its $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt based on events unfolding in the country.
The US also warned citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Egypt and urged Americans in the country to stay put.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the situation. Egypt has been a key US ally in the volatile region. US officials are now increasing calls on Mubarak to respond with restraint and reverse steps taken to cut off the protesters' ability to communicate.
Mubarak has not been seen publicly or heard from since the protests began Tuesday. While Mubarak may still have a chance to ride out this latest challenge, his choices are limited, and all are likely to lead to a loosening of his grip on power.
Mubarak has not said yet whether he will stand for another six-year term as president in elections this year. He has never appointed a deputy and is thought to be grooming his son Gamal to succeed him despite popular opposition. According to leaked US memos, hereditary succession also does not meet with the approval of the powerful military.
Mubarak and his government have shown no hint of concessions to the protesters who want political reform and a solution to rampant poverty, unemployment and rising food prices.