Egypt braces for sixth day of anti-government protests

20:59, January 30, 2011      

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Demonstrators gather near the main Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Jan. 29, 2011. Tens of thousands of Egyptians defied a curfew and remained on the streets of downtown Cairo on Saturday, demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)
Anti-government protesters began to mass in central Cairo on Sunday, bracing for a sixth day of demonstrations across Egypt to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, amid increasing lawlessness.

Organizers were quoted by Arab satellite channel al-Jazeera as saying that larger protests were expected to resume after noon prayers despite the resignation of the Egyptian government and appointment of a vice president and new prime minister.

The armed forces said on Sunday they have arrested hundreds of thugs and outlaws who have been looting and damaging public and private property across the country.

The army said they arrested 450 outlaws in Cairo and 63 in Suez, two governorates that have witnessed mass protests and rampant looting in the past few days, official MENA news agency said.

Overnight, thousands of prisoners broke out of a prison in Wadi Natrun, north of Cairo, after overpowering the guards. Eight inmates died in the breakout, security sources said.

About 1,000 prisoners escaped from a prison in Fayoum, southwest of Cairo on Sunday, the sources said.

Egyptian banks and the stock exchange are closed on Sunday. Most of supermarkets and stores kept shut for fear of looting, while some of them were already ransacked.

Gunshots were heard in upscale neighborhood of Maadi in south Cairo early Sunday morning.

Local residents were organized in groups to protect their properties from being looted and destroyed while the troops were deployed to key areas of the capital.

With rising fears of insecurity, some Western countries, such as Britain, the United States and France, have advised their citizens to return home and warned against travelling to Egypt.

The U.S. embassy in Cairo said on Sunday "Flights to evacuation points will begin departing Egypt on Monday, Jan. 31," adding the evacuation was voluntary.

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