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Africa

Egyptian authorities ban further protests after 'day of anger'

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Latest update : 2011-01-26

A pro-democracy group on Wed. called for more street protests, a day after thousands of Egyptians rallied nationwide to call for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. But with four dead, authorities have since banned further protests.

AFP - An Egyptian opposition group called for a second day of street protests on Wednesday, a day after thousands joined unprecedented nationwide rallies against President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

The pro-democracy youth group April 6 Movement, which had launched the call for Tuesday's protests, urged people to head to Cairo's main square, just hours after police during the night fired tear gas on thousands of protesters to disperse them.

"Everyone needs to head down to Tahrir Square to take over the square once again," the group said on its Facebook page -- which along with Twitter had helped to organise Tuesday's protests.

In a separate statement, it urged Egyptians to carry on protesting.

"To continue what we started on January 25, we will take to the streets to demand the right to life, liberty, dignity and we call on everyone to take to the streets... and to keep going until the demands of the Egyptian people have been met," the group said.

Tuesday's demonstrations, dubbed "the day of anger" and inspired by the uprising in Tunisia, left two protesters and one policeman dead.

The protests were considered the largest and most significant since riots over bread subsidies shook the Arab world's most populous nation in 1977.



Despite some 20,000 to 30,000 police being deployed in central Cairo, thousands of demonstrators marched to Tahrir Square on Tuesday, where they chanted in unison: "The people want the ouster of the regime."

They also tore down posters of Mubarak and chanted, "Mubarak get lost," "Bread, liberty, dignity," and "We will follow Tunisia."

Among demands are the departure of the interior minister, whose security forces have been accused of heavy-handedness; an end to a decades-old state of emergency; and a rise in minimum wages.

A statement released by the Egyptian interior ministry late Tuesday said security forces had decided to allow demonstrators "to voice their demands and exercise their freedom of expression," with a commitment to "securing and not confronting these gatherings".

The ministry said a number of protesters, "particularly a large number of those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood... began to riot, damage public public property and throw stones at police forces."

The White House said on Tuesday that Egypt's government should be "responsive" to its people's aspirations.

"The Egyptian government has an important opportunity to be responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people, and pursue political, economic and social reforms that can improve their lives and help Egypt prosper," it said in a statement.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that Washington was closely monitoring developments in Egypt.

"All parties should exercise restraint, and we call on the Egyptian authorities to handle these protests peacefully," Crowley said.

French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said in Paris on Wednesday that France regrets the loss of life in the anti-government protests and supports calls for more democracy "in all countries."

Date created : 2011-01-26

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