Protesters declare open-ended sit-in in Tahrir Square; experts fear escalation

TWITTER (TWEET) IS BLOCKED IN EGYPT

“We want everybody in Egypt to come out onto the streets," . "The regime doesn’t have 80 million police officers to stop us.”


<p>ألاف المتظاهرين المشاركين في «يوم الغضب» ، يستمرون في احتجاجاتهم حتى الساعات الأولى من الليل، مقررين المبيت على أرصفة ميدان التحرير، وسط القاهرة، 25 يناير 2011.</p>

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,” Hassan added.

Hassan also asserted that Tuesday's protests had eliminated any chance of a presidential bid by Gamal Mubarak, son of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. He added that the number of protesters had "exceeded all expectations," saying that the massive protests "could force the regime to either apply drastic changes or leave."

A group of activists from the 6 April reform movement, which initially called for Tuesday's "Day of Anger," erected a tent in the middle of Tahrir Square to show their intention to stay put until their demands were met.
Adel Abou Zeid, a member of the liberal opposition Ghad Party, is among those who plan to spend the night in Tahrir Square. Abou Zeid said he had long suffered from a sense of injustice, saying that he had "finally found a way of making my voice heard."
"I have been crushed for thirty years--I can handle a one- or two-month sit-in,” he said. “I will stay here until Mubarak leaves. The Tunisians are no better than us!"

Mohsen, another protester, likewise said he would not leave Tahrir Square until protesters' demands were met. He went on to urge all Egyptian citizens to participate in the demonstrations.
“We want everybody in Egypt to come out onto the streets," he said. "The regime doesn’t have 80 million police officers to stop us.”

Heavy clashes had erupted earlier between protesters and police that had lasted for several hours, leading to injuries on both sides as protesters tried to reach the parliament building in downtown Cairo.
Security forces chased protesters down nearby Kasr al-Einy Street with police trucks, frequently blasting them with water cannons and tear gas. Protesters responded by attacking the trucks and throwing rocks at police.

Similar clashes broke out in Tahrir Square as protesters and police pelted one another with rocks. During the clashes, several protesters were snatched from the crowd and detained by police.
The protest in Tahrir Square began when protesters managed to break through several police cordons in a march from Egypt's nearby Supreme Court to the square. They were later joined by thousands of additional protesters who marched from Cairo's Dokki and Shubra districts.


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