Tens of thousands of protesters demonstrate in downtown Cairo

08:48, January 30, 2011      

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Tens of thousands of protesters were demonstrating in the streets of downtown Cairo on Saturday, calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters swarmed into the streets of the capital city of 18 million as protests across Egypt entered a fifth day and chanted "Down, down, Mubarak."

Al Jazeera reported that at least 50,000 protesters were gathered in the downtown area near the main Tahrir Square and about 1,000 tried to storm the Interior Ministry before police opened fire.

A Xinhua correspondent in downtown Cairo saw that one person was killed and many others injured in clashes during the country's largest anti-government protests in decades.

The Health Ministry said Saturday that at least 51 people have been killed and 1,100 others injured during the past four days of massive protests.

Witnesses said several tanks were parked near the square but no intervention in the protests has been seen so far.

There was rampant looting across Cairo and a growing feeling of fear and insecurity in the sprawling city. People were forming security groups to protect public and private belongings from being stolen or destroyed.

Young men formed a human barricade in front of the Egyptian Museum to protect one of Egypt's most important tourist attractions.

Other people around the city looted banks, smashed cars, tore down street signs and pelted armored riot police vehicles with paving stones torn from roadways.

In the Giza province, police opened fired at some armed men, but no casualties were reported.

The Cabinet resigned in the midst of rampant looting across the sprawling capital city dotted by dozens of military armored personnel carriers and tanks as well as soldiers on foot deployed around a number of key government buildings.
The pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo -- Egypt's premiere tourist site -- have been closed by the military to tourists.

On Friday, protesters burned down the ruling party's headquarters complex along the Nile in one of the more dramatic scenes in a day of utter chaos.

The massive crowds overwhelmed police forces in Cairo and other cities around the nation, attacking them with rocks and firebombs.
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