Egypt police tear-gas protesters
Cairo, January 25, 2011
Thousands of Egyptians protested against the state on Tuesday in a rare show of strength to mark what online activists said was a 'Day of Wrath' inspired by the revolt that toppled Tunisia's president.
Web activists have become some of the most vigorous critics of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's three decades in office. They led the calls for protests against poverty and repression on what is a national holiday in Egypt.
The protests are being watched to see whether online calls for change can lure Egyptians into the street. Total numbers were difficult to estimate because of the spread of protests, but witness accounts suggested it reached several thousand.
'Down, down, Hosni Mubarak,' protesters chanted outside a court complex before marching along a road in central Cairo.
Witnesses said about 1,000 joined that march and hundreds gathered in other areas of Cairo, an unusually large number in the Arab world's most populous nation, where protests tend to be swiftly crushed and rarely gather more than a few hundred.
The Interior Ministry warned earlier that it would deal firmly with anyone breaking the law and said demonstrators could face arrest, although it welcomed stationary protests for a limited period.
'We have orders not to clash with them (protestors),' one security officer was heard to say, speaking on a mobile phone.
However, media earlier reported that police fired tear gas at the protesters gathered in the centre of the capital.
They also used a water cannon in the same location in a main Cairo square. Witnesses said police used batons to beat protesters in at least two locations of the capital.-Reuters