Egypt: Protesters take to the streets to demand democracy (with videos)

Issue 
Demonstrators protest in Cairo, January 25

UPDATE: The media are reporting a second day of large anti-government protests. The regime has cracked down, with reports of at least 500 people arrested across the country.

See also:
Tunisia: People's power ousts dictator
Tunisia: Arab rulers shake in fear

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Egypt on January 25 to demonstrate their opposition to the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Inspired by the revolution in nearby Tunisia that has overthrown the Ben Ali dictatorship, activists called demonstrations labled a "Day of Wrath" across Egypt.

Organisers called the protests a "day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment". The nationwide protests coincided with the "Police Day" national holiday.

One rally held in Cairo was witnessed by more than 4000 people from around the world, who watched as the action was live-streamed on www.ustream.tv from one demonstrator's mobile phone.

The crowd marched through the streets of Cairo waving banners and clapping their hands. Passing vehicles honked their horns. Protesters chanted: "Tunis Tunis", "change or death", "freedom" and "long live the revolution".

Rally-goers also encouraged others to leave their homes and join the march, shouting: "Come down, come down."

The protest appeared to be largely peaceful with many waving the national flag as they walked through the city. However, screams were heard as the police fired water at the crowd.

Police in riot gear tried to control the movement of demonstrators, forming a shoulder-to-should barrier across parts of the street.

Early reports on social networking site Twitter indicate that some clashes with police had resulted in arrests and there were reports of police using tear gas on the crowd.

Ashraf Khalil, a journalist in Cairo, updating Twitter live from the protest said: "Tear gas in tahrir [Tahir Square in central Cairo]. Crackdown beginning", and 16 minutes later, "Crowd in tahrir square regrouping after tear gas assault".

The British Guardian reported that day that protesters on Cairo had defied police to occupy Tahrir Square, vowing to remain until the regime of Honsi Mubarak resigned. Police finally cleared the area with rubber bullets and tear gas at 1am.

The Guardian reported that two protesters were killed in Suez and one police officer died in clashes in Cairo.

Demonstrators demanded an end to Mubarak's rule, political reforms to change the way the country is governed and measures to tackle poverty and corruption.

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The videos below were released by www.almasryalyoum.com . On January 26, the site reported: "After violent clashes with police, thousands of protesters announced they would stage an open-ended sit-in in Cairo's centrally-located Tahrir Square until their demands for political and economic reform were met. Activist and protestor Amar Ali Hassan told Al-Masry Al-Youm from Tahrir Square that Tuesday's demonstrations were bigger than the initial protests that had eventually led to the recent Tunisian uprising. He pointed to signs that the situation in Egypt could eventually lead to a similar scenario.

"Hassan described Tuesday's protests as 'historic,' saying they had been unlike any others witnessed in Egypt. 'And that gives me hope,' he said. 'When people see what happened today, more will join the protests -- especially now that Egypt has become a tinderbox waiting for a match to set it alight.'"

Tahrir Square.

In front of parliament.

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