Tens of thousands march in Egypt against Mubarak regime

By Johannes Stern and Stefan Steinberg , wsws.org, 26 January 2011
Police charge demonstrators

The thirty-year-old US-backed dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak was shaken by an unprecedented wave of mass demonstrations Tuesday demanding an end to the regime. An estimated 20,000 protesters, largely youth and young workers, defied a huge deployment of riot police and paramilitary troops in the center of Cairo, and thousands more rallied in cities across the country.

The demonstrators hailed the mass protests that ousted long-time Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14 and demanded that Mubarak follow Ben Ali’s example and resign. Police attacked the rallies in Cairo and other cities, firing tear gas and water cannon and wielding clubs. Two protesters were reported killed in Suez, east of Cairo.

The day in Cairo began with a massive buildup of police and paramilitary units in the city center. Central Security Forces trucks were deployed in front of the High Court in downtown Cairo and police moved in to cordon off large sections of the city center.

Demonstrators in Cairo advanced in star formation from the city’s suburbs to assemble in the centre. At midday, reports emerged of hundreds protesting in Dar El-Salam, south of Cairo, chanting “bread and freedom.” The protest was quickly broken up by the police.

Marchers demonstrated in front of the ruling National Democratic Party headquarters in Cairo chanting, “We want a free government” and “Down with Mubarak.” Later, crowds advanced to Tahrir Square and attempted to storm the Egyptian parliament. They were met by waves of police and security forces who used water cannon, tear gas and clubs to repulse them.

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