Protests continue for second day in Egypt

Updated: 2011-01-27 15:14


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Protests continue for second day in Egypt
Riot police clash with protesters in Cairo January 26, 2011. [Photo/Agencies] 

CAIRO - Protests over the country's economic woes entered the second day on Wednesday in many parts of Egypt despite a government ban.

In downtown Cairo, groups of protesters were seen, shouting slogans. Police tried to disperse them with tear gas.

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In Suez, protesters set fire to the municipal building, and damaged one of its rooms. The fire has been put out, a local official told Xinhua late Wednesday.

Some protesters were arrested by police.

No official figures are available for the total number of casualties caused by the protests on Wednesday.

Egypt's official MENA news agency said early Wednesday that one policeman was killed and 104 policemen or police officers were injured, including one in coma.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry on Wednesday announced a ban on any protests.

More than 100 protesters have been arrested across the country.

The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) said in a statement on Wednesday that it rejected violence and damage of public properties to destabilize social security.

It also rejected incitement calls made by some outlawed groups and other popular parties seeking to exploit youths to serve their "chaos agendas."

The statement said the NDP urged its members and youths to be tolerant and accept others' opinions if they are legitimate.

The party would keep all communication and dialogue channels open to all Egyptian youths, it said.

The NDP was due to hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the recent situation.

A meeting of the Governors Council, set for Thursday, has been postponed until next week or later, MENA quoted Egypt's Cabinet spokesman Magdi Radi as saying on Wednesday.

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said security personnel will intervene to confront any attempts by those trying to destabilize the country, it added.

Unemployment, high food prices and poverty are believed to be some of the reasons behind the protests, which were inspired by the recent happenings in Tunisia.

Egypt's official data showed the country's unemployment rate stood at about 9 percent. But many protestors believed the rate was much higher.

Before the protests, Egypt reported several self-immolation cases, which were also believed to attempt to instigate protests against the government.

Protesters have demanded the resignation of the president and the dissolution of the parliament, among others.

Egypt held elections for the People's Assembly (the lower house of parliament) last year, which some opposition groups claimed were rigged as the NDP won a landslide victory.

"This time, it is not a wave of protests since it is counted as the largest protest that the current regime has confronted," Amar Hassan, an Egyptian political analyst, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Protesters, who took to the streets with specific political, economic and social demands, were sending a strong message that they wanted change, he said.

The analyst believed the protests would continue despite tight security measures.



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