In Egypt, the revolution grows

Demonstrators protest outside the Egyptian embassy in London, Saturday, January 29. After years of simmering discontent in Egypt, where protests are generally limited, Egyptians were emboldened to take to the streets by the uprising in Tunisia - another North African Arab nation. (AP Photo)
Cairo, January 29 (AP): Saying Egypt’s president must go, a massive crowd of tens of thousands defied the government’s curfew and filled the streets and squares of downtown Cairo on Saturday in a resounding rejection of the longtime leader’s attempt to hang on to power with promises of reform and a new government. Tanks and armored personnel carriers fanned out across the city of 18 million, guarding key government buildings. But the curfew was largely ignored -- by the looters who ran rampant, by protesters, and apparently by soldiers under orders to enforce it.
The death toll since the largest anti—government protests in decades began on Tuesday rose to 45, according to medical and security officials, 38 of them killed since Friday. Some 2,000 injuries have been reported.
In the city’s main Tahrir Square, at the center of Saturday’s massive demonstration, there was only a light military presence -- a few tanks -- and soldiers are not intervening. Few police were seen in the crowds and the protest began peacefully. Then police opened fire on some in the crowd near the Interior Ministry and a number of them were wounded by gunshots. It was not clear whether they used rubber bullets or live ammunition.
One army captain joined the demonstrators, who hoisted him on their shoulders while chanting slogans against President Hosni Mubarak. The officer ripped a picture of the president.  “We don’t want him! We will go after him!” demonstrators shouted. They decried looting and sabotage, saying- “Those who love Egypt should not sabotage Egypt!”  There have been no clashes reported between the military and the protesters, and many seem to feel the army is with them. On one tank was scrawled black graffiti- “Down with Mubarak.”  In contrast, protesters have scorned police, who are hated for their brutality.
Detailed story on page 9