Choppers hover above Cairo on 7th day of protests

Muslim Brotherhood says movement wants to form c'tee of opposition groups with ElBaradei; soldiers, tanks, police patrol Egyptian capital.

Egypt tanks 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Egypt tanks 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Egyptian helicopters flew above Tahrir Square in Cairo Monday as anti-government demonstrations and protests continued for the seventh day, CNN reported.
Egyptian soldiers and armored tanks continued their presence on city streets, CNN said and the Al-Jazeera TV network 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."
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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 westside of the Nile, southwest of central Cairo."
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 are seeing."
Garbage collectors also began appearing and subway stations reopened after soldiers and neighborhood watch groups armed with clubs and machetes kept the peace in many districts overnight Sunday.
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 Mohammad 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.
The 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.
But in the meantime, young men stepped in to fill the vacuum left by the police, setting up neighborhood defense committees armed with guns, clubs and knives to protect their families and property. Groups of youths also directed traffic in parts of Cairo, chasing away the gangs of criminals smashing passing cars.
Click here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in EgyptClick here for full Jpost coverage of unrest in Egypt
With the protests dragging on and no immediate end in sight, people are scrambling to buy up the basic supplies to wait things out.
At grocery stores across the city, people stocked up on food, water and other supplies Sunday. Stores in the neighborhoods of Zamalek, Mohandiseen and Dokki were running short of many items, especially bread and bottled water. At one store, water was selling for three times the normal rate.
But with banks closed and many ATMs out of cash, some are already feeling a pinch in their pocketbook.
Across the capital, work has all but come to a standstill. Downtown, where the protests are centered, nearly all shopfronts are shuttered and windows either boarded up or painted over. Across the Nile in Dokki, only a smattering of pharmacies, coffee shops and eateries were open for business.
The government cut off access to the Internet across the country early Friday morning. Cell phone service was also suspended in some areas.