Egyptians protest military rule
CAIRO — Egyptians converged on Cairo’s central Tahrir Square on Tuesday in response to a call for a so-called “million-man march” as protests against the country’s military rulers entered a fourth day.
Thousands of Egyptian protesters have been camping out on the square and clashing with police trying to force them to leave.
NBC’s Richard Engel said Egyptian television was reporting three American citizens were arrested after being seen throwing fire bombs from the roof of a building belonging to the American University near Tahrir Square.
An Interior Ministry official confirmed three people had been arrested at the location but declined to confirm their nationality.
A riot police officer fires tear gas during clashes with protesters near Tahrir Square in Cairo on Tuesday.
An airport official also said a U.S. citizen who had been arrested while allegedly filming security forces at Tahrir Square was deported Tuesday to the United Arab Emirates from which he had arrived.
In Tahrir Square, crowds hoisted a giant Egyptian flag and chanted slogans on Tuesday, evidence that an offer of resignation by the civilian Cabinet the day before has failed to quell the spreading unrest.
Egyptian state television said the country’s military rulers were in a crisis meeting with leaders of political parties across the spectrum and that the head of Egypt’s ruling army council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, would address the nation later on Tuesday.
Trading was halted on the Egyptian stock exchange after its broader index plunged over 5 percent on Tuesday as escalating protests and deadly violence in the capital thrust the nation into its worst political crisis since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt’s state TV reported that three people were killed overnight in the eastern city of Ismailia, raising the overall death toll from the protests to at least 29.
Egypt ‘not for sale’ Some 5,000 people surrounded a security headquarters in the northern coastal city of Alexandria and police responded by firing live ammunition, witnesses said. The state news agency MENA said 40 security officers were injured in the clashes.
Some 20,000 people defiantly demonstrated in Tahrir Square overnight. However, the protests have yet to attract the hundreds of thousands who toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February.
“The people want the fall of the marshal,” protesters chanted, referring to Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak’s defense minister for two decades and head of the army council.
“This land belongs to Egyptians. It is not for sale and does not need any guardians,” one banner read. “All Egyptians demand an Egypt run by civilians,” another said.
Egyptian activists called for a huge turnout in protests on Tuesday to put an end to rule by the military.