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Chaos continues in Cairo

Chaos continues in Cairo Egyptian anti-government protesters standing atop an Egyptian army tank during a protest in Tahrir square today.

Sat, January 29, 2011 - 1:16 PM

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named a vice president today for the first time since coming to power nearly 30 years ago — a clear step toward setting up a successor in the midst of the biggest anti-government protests of his regime.

After five days of protests, Cairo was engulfed in chaos. There was rampant looting and lawlessness was spreading fast. Residents of affluent neighbourhoods were boarding up their houses against gangs of thugs roaming the streets with knives and sticks and gunfire was heard in some neighborhoods.

Tanks and armored personnel carriers fanned out across the city of 18 million, guarding key government buildings. Egyptian television reported the army was deploying reinforcements to neighborhoods to try to control the lawlessness.

The military was protecting major tourist and archaeological sites such as the Egyptian Museum, home to some of the country's most treasured antiquities, as well as the Cabinet building.  

Thousands of protesters defied the curfew for the second night Saturday, standing their ground in the main Tahrir Square

in a resounding rejection of Mubarak's attempt to hang onto power with promises of reform and a new government.

"What we want is for Mubarak to leave, not just his government," Mohammed Mahmoud, a demonstrator in the city's main Tahrir Square, said today. "We will not stop protesting until he goes."

A few tanks were deployed in Tahrir Square. But there have been no clashes reported between protesters and the military at all and many feel the army is with them. On one tank was scrawled black graffiti: "Down with Mubarak."P

Protesters also besieged a police station in the Giza neighbourhood of Cairo, looted and pulled down Egyptian flags before burning the building to the ground.

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