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Violent clashes continue in Egypt as protests sweep through Middle East

Protests continue in Egypt following yesterday’s deaths, as demonstrators demand an end to repression and governmental corruption. Meanwhile in Tunisia, the interim government has said it will bow to the will of the people and reshuffle the cabinet today.

A protester throws a concrete block to the ground to break into smaller pieces to throw at riot police during clashes in downtown Cairo, Egypt, in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011.
A protester throws a concrete block to the ground to break into smaller pieces to throw at riot police during clashes in downtown Cairo, Egypt, in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011.
Image: Ben Curtis/AP/Press Association Images

VIOLENCE CONTINUES ON the streets of Cairo today, as Egyptians call for an end to repression and governmental corruption – and demand more jobs.

Police tried to break up crowds shouting slogans against President Hosni Mubarak by blasting water cannons and firing tear gas, the BBC reports.  Yesterday, two protesters and one policeman died in the violent clashes.

A pro-democracy youth group April 6 Movement has urged Egyptians to take to the streets again, writing of their Facebook page: “Everyone needs to head down to Tahrir Square to take over the square once again”.

AFP reports that demonstrators chanted: “Mubarak get lost – Bread, liberty, dignity! We will follow Tunisia!”

The Arab world has been electrified by waves of protests over the past number of weeks – sparked off by an single desperate act by a Tunisian street vendor last December: the self-immolation of the 26-year-old vendor, Mohammed Bouazizi, in protest at the confiscation of his wares, triggered a wave of street riots across the country. The demonstrations did not abate until the country’s strongman Ben Ali, who had been in power for 23 years, was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Bouazizi’s death proved to be a catalyst for the outpouring of public fury across the Middle East – prompting copycat suicide attempts and public demonstrations over repression, corruption and poverty across many countries including Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

Violent clashes continue in Egypt as protests sweep through Middle East
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The Tunisian protests continued this week as citizens demanded the removal of all ministers of the old regime from the interim government. Today, the public has been promised what they want; a cabinet reshuffle will reportedly see the purging of those loyal to the ousted president from office, Reuters reports.

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Meanwhile, some calm appears to have returned to the streets of Lebanon after thousands of Sunni Muslims demonstrated over the past two days at the prospect of a Hezbollah-controlled government. Hezbollah and its allies ousted the western-backed government two weeks ago by quitting the cabinet.

Read more: Protesters flood the streets in Tunisia, Egypt and Lebanon >


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