Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 July 2015

Egypt uprising: Protest fury erupts on Cairo streets

Published 28/01/2011 | 12:50

Egyptian plain cloth policemen arrest Mohamed Abdul Quddus, Rapporteur of the civil Liberties Committee and member of the Press Syndicate Council, outside the journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt
Egyptian plain cloth policemen arrest Mohamed Abdul Quddus, Rapporteur of the civil Liberties Committee and member of the Press Syndicate Council, outside the journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 28: Locals pray in the street in front of The l-Istiqama Mosque watched by riot police in Giza on January 28, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt.Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 28: Locals pray in the street in front of The l-Istiqama Mosque watched by riot police in Giza on January 28, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 28: Locals are soaked by a police water canon in front of the l-Istiqama Mosque in Giza on January 28, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt.Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 28: Locals run from tear gas fired by riot police in front of the l-Istiqama Mosque in Giza on January 28, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 28: A riot policeman fires tear gas at protestors in front of the l-Istiqama Mosque in Giza on January 28, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A wounded riot policeman is led away by colleagues as Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
An angry Egyptian activist shouts in front of anti-riot policemen who block the way leading to journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. A small gathering of Egyptian anti-government activists tried to stage a second day of protests in Cairo Wednesday in defiance of a ban on any gatherings, but police quickly moved in and used force to disperse the group. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian plain cloth policemen arrest a cameraman during a protest outside the journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. A small gathering of Egyptian anti-government activists tried to stage a second day of protests in Cairo Wednesday in defiance of a ban on any gatherings, but police quickly moved in and used force to disperse the group. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian anti-riot policemen use water canons against protesters in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a fourth day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo/ Lefteris Pitarakis)
An Egyptian protesters prays in front of anti-riot police in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a fourth day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo/ Lefteris Pitarakis)
Egyptians protestors flee during clashes with anti-riot policemen in Suez, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
Egyptian protesters clash with riot police in Suez, Egypt Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
Egyptians protestors flee during clashes with anti-riot policemen in Suez, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
An Egyptian riot policeman fires at protesters in Suez, Egypt Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 27: Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei is surrounded by reporters as he arrives at Cairo airport on January 27, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. ElBaradei has vowed to join anti government protesters in Cairo tomorrow. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 27: Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei is surrounded by reporters as he arrives at Cairo airport on January 27, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Mr ElBaradei has vowed to join anti government protesters in Cairo tomorrow. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Egyptian protesters clash with riot police in Suez, Egypt Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
Egyptians protestors flee during clashes with anti-riot policemen in Suez, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
Egyptians protestors flee during clashes with anti-riot policemen in Suez, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
An Egyptian riot policeman fires at protesters in Suez, Egypt Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 27: Local newspapers carry reports and pictures of street protests on January 27, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
CAIRO, EGYPT - JANUARY 27: Locals look at newspapers carrying reports and pictures of street protests on January 27, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Egyptian anti-government activists chant slogans as they gather on the rooftop of the Lawyers Syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Egyptian protestors flash V sign as anti-riot policemen surround a protest in Suez, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
Anti-government activists wheel a rubbish bin to form a barricade as they clash with Egyptian riot police in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A wounded riot policeman is led away by colleagues as Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A wounded riot policeman is led away by colleagues as Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian anti-government activists throw stones on riot police during clashes in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
An Egyptian activist shouts anti-government slogans during a protest in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. A small gathering of Egyptian anti-government activists tried to stage a second day of protests in Cairo Wednesday in defiance of a ban on any gatherings, but police quickly moved in and used force to disperse the group. (AP Photo/Hossam Khalil)
Egyptian anti-riot police confront Egyptian activist outside a journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. A small gathering of Egyptian anti-government activists tried to stage a second day of protests in Cairo Wednesday in defiance of a ban on any gatherings, but police quickly moved in and used force to disperse the group. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A riot van drives through a burning barricade as Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian anti-government activists clashed with police for a second day Wednesday in defiance of an official ban on any protests but beefed up police forces on the streets quickly moved in and used tear gas and beatings to disperse demonstrations. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Angery Egyptian activist shouts at anti-riot policemen who block the way leading to journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. A small gathering of Egyptian anti-government activists tried to stage a second day of protests in Cairo Wednesday in defiance of a ban on any gatherings, but police quickly moved in and used force to disperse the group. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian plain cloth policemen arrest Mohamed Abdul Quddus, Rapporteur of the civil Liberties Committee and member of the Press Syndicate Council, outside the journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. A small gathering of Egyptian anti-government activists tried to stage a second day of protests in Cairo Wednesday in defiance of a ban on any gatherings, but police quickly moved in and used force to disperse the group. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian anti-riot police block the way leading to a journalists syndicate in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. A small gathering of Egyptian anti-government activists tried to stage a second day of protests in Cairo Wednesday in defiance of a ban on any gatherings, but police quickly moved in and used force to disperse the group. (AP Photo/Mohammed Abu Zaid)
A wounded protester is carried away by others during clashes in Cairo, Egypt, in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011. Egyptian police fired tear gas and rubber bullets and beat protesters to clear thousands of people from a central Cairo square Wednesday after the biggest demonstrations in years against President Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian rule. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A fire station seen burning during clashes between protestors and anti-riot policemen in Suez, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
Egyptians protestors flee during clashes with anti-riot policemen in Suez, Egypt, Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)
Egyptians protestors clash with anti-riot policemen in Suez, Egypt, Thursday, Jan.27, 2011. Egyptian activists protested for a third day as social networking sites called for a mass rally in the capital Cairo after Friday prayers, keeping up the momentum of the country's largest anti-government protests in years. (AP Photo)

Thousands of Egyptian anti-government protesters clashed with police in Cairo, who fired rubber bullets into the crowds and used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them.

It was a major escalation in what was already the biggest challenge to President Hosni Mubarak's 30 year-rule.

Water cannons were used against pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei and his supporters as they joined the latest wave of protests after noon prayers.

Police also used batons to beat some of ElBaradei's supporters, who surrounded him to protect him.

A soaking wet ElBaradei was trapped inside a mosque nearly an hour after he and his supporters were drenched with water cannons.

Hundreds of riot police laid siege to the mosque, firing tear gas in the streets surrounding it so no one could leave. The tear gas canisters set several cars ablaze outside the mosque. Several people fainted and suffered burns.

Large groups of protesters, in the thousands, were gathered at at least six venues in Cairo, a city of about 18 million people. They are demanding Mubarak's removal.

There were smaller protests in Assiut south of Cairo and al-Arish in the Sinai peninsula. Regional television stations were reporting clashes between thousands of demonstrators and police in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria and Minya south of Cairo.

At the upmarket Mohandiseen district, at least 10,000 of people were marching toward the city centre chanting "down, down with Mubarak."

The crowd later swelled to about 20,000 as they made their way through residential areas. Residents looking on from apartment block windows waved at them and whistled in support. Others waved the red, white and black Egyptian flags.

At Ramsis square in the heart of the city, thousands of protesters clashed with police as they left the al-Nur mosque after prayers. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets and some of the tear gas was fired inside the mosque where women were taking refuge.

Clusters of riot police with helmets and shields were stationed around the city, at the entrances to bridges across the Nile and other key intersections.

Near the city's main Tahrir Square, hundreds of riot police clustered together and moved in, anticipating the arrival of a large crowd of protesters. A short while later, thousands of protesters marched across a bridge over the Nile and moved toward the square, where police began firing tear gas into the crowds.

Internet and cell-phone services were disrupted across Egypt starting overnight and throughout the day as authorities used extreme measures to hamper protesters from organising the mass rallies called after Friday prayers.

Mubarak is Washington's closest Arab ally, but Washington has signalled that he no longer enjoys its full backing, publicly advising him to introduce reform and refrain from using violence against the protesters. He has not been seen publicly or heard from since the protests began on Tuesday.

Today's demonstrations were energised by the return of Nobel Peace prize winner ElBaradei on Thursday night, when he said he was ready to lead the opposition toward a regime change. They also got a boost from the endorsement of the country's biggest opposition group, the Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.

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