afrol News, 28 January - Cairo and other Egyptian cities look like a war zone. Hundreds of thousands of protesting Egyptians are met with unprecedented police brutality. But they keep regrouping rather than giving up.
Today's protests in Egypt are massive, but not as massive as some expected. Government had made sure to cut internet and mobile phone connections to make it difficult for the protesters to organise. It also soon was made clear that the protesters would be met with brutal means.
Massive police forces met the protesters as they gathered after the Friday prayers. Armoured vehicles are firing tear gas and using water canons to spread the protesters. Locally, police forces shot at the protesters with rubber bullets and were seen beating up civilians with wooden batons.
Especially in Cairo, police troops relatively quickly managed to spread larger groups of demonstrators demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. Protesters for a while had managed to occupy the strategic Cairo 6 October Bridge and were seen marching towards the presidential palace.
But as soon as police troops managed to disperse the protesters, new groups re-emerged at other locations. The popular uprising showed no sign of abating in Cairo, despite the large concentration of police troops driven into the capital from other parts of the country.
Outside Cairo, in other Egyptian cities, the protesters can count on more victories. Especially Suez is embattled. Protesters have managed to ignite at least three armoured vehicles. A wall of police officers at several occasions has had to give way to the protesters.
Also in Alexandria, there are reports of buildings on fire and a massive turnout of protesters. Also in Aswan and several provincial cities, there are reports of violent and ongoing clashes.
Police troops are resisting the protesters all over the country by all means, and the force is generally seen as very loyal to the Mubarak regime. However, 'Al Arabiya' television documented today how a few policemen left their uniforms and either joined the protesters or went home.
Meanwhile, there is confusion about the opposition leaders that had announced their participation in today's protest. The Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt' main opposition force - today reported that most of its leaders had been detained this morning or last night.
Mohammed El Baradei, the former leader of the UN's nuclear agency IAEA, yesterday returned to Cairo from Vienna to lead on the protests. There are however differing reports about his possible detention or house arrest in a mosque in Giza outside Cairo.
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