Thousands of Egyptian protesters defy curfew in Cairo

Crowds gather in capital rejecting Mubarak's promises of reform after days of clashes in which death toll reportedly reaches 90.

Egypt protests, topless man injured 311 (photo credit: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Egypt protests, topless man injured 311
(photo credit: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A massive crowd of tens of thousands calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak gathered in the streets and squares of downtown Cairo Saturday evening breaking a government imposed curfew, with protesters making clear they reject promises of reform and a new government offered by the embattled leader trying to hang on to power.
Dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers fanned out across the city of 18 million, guarding key government building a day after large, violent confrontations emboldened the movement demanding a change of leadership. There was rampant looting across the sprawling city of 18 million and a growing feeling of fear and insecurity.
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In the city's main Tahrir Square, at the center of Saturday's massive demonstration, there was only a light military presence — a few tanks — and soldiers were not intervening. Few police were seen in the crowds and the protest began peacefully but then police opened fire on some people in the crowd near the Interior Ministry and a number of them were wounded by gunshots. It was not clear whether they used rubber bullets or live ammunition.
One army captain joined the demonstrators, who hoisted him on their shoulders while chanting slogans against Mubarak. The officer ripped a picture of the president.
Egyptian Authorities extended the hours of a curfew that has been imposed on Cairo, Alexandria and Suez as state television on Saturday said that the Cabinet of Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif has resigned on the president's orders.
The Cabinet's resignation on Saturday follows days of anti-government protests and just hours after the embattled Mubarak told the nation in a televised address that he has decided the sack the Cabinet.Al-Jazeera reported that the number of people killed in Egyptian protests was reported to be close to 90, with at least 23 deaths confirmed in Alexandria, and at least 27 confirmed in Suez, with a further 22 deaths in Cairo.
The ruling party's headquarters in the Egyptian city of Luxor was torched as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in defiance of a curfew that was set.
The death toll was likely to significantly rise as more reports come in from hospitals and morgues around the country.
More than 2,000 wounded in clashes
They also say that at least 750 policemen and 1,500 protesters have been wounded in clashes. The officials were speaking Saturday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share the information with the media.The sight of over 50,000 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.Police opened fire on a number of the protesters according to eyewitness reports, al-Jazeera reported.
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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.
In Suez, 1,000-2,000 protesters gathered and the military was not confronting them, the news agency reported.
A military officer was quoted as saying that troops would "not fire a single bullet on Egyptians", regardless of where the orders to do so come from.
The officer also said the only solution to the current unrest was "for Mubarak to leave".
Mobile phone services were restored on Saturday after a government-ordered communications blackout aimed at stopping Friday's protests. Protesters have used text messaging and social networking websites to coordinate demonstrations.