Egypt Parliament: Put Under Seige!

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Tens of thousands of anti-Mubarak protesters gathered outside Egypt’s parliament yesterday, bringing business to a halt, just several hundred yards from the continuing mass protest by hundreds of thousands in Tahrir Square.

At least three people have been killed and 100 others injured in clashes between police and anti-Mubarak protesters in south Egypt over the past two days.

The clashes erupted in the city of El Khargo, located some 400 kilometres (about 250 miles) south of Cairo.

After police fired live rounds, killing the three and wounding many more, furious protesters responded by burning seven official buildings, including two police stations and a police barracks, a court house and the local headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party.

In Cairo, the mass protest at Tahrir Square against Mubarak’s regime entered its 16th day yesterday.

Vice President Suleiman claimed the government would not harass or arrest protesters, but warned: ‘We can’t bear this for a long time.’

‘There must be an end to this crisis as soon as possible . . . we don’t want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.’

Suleiman warned that if the situation continued, ‘the dark bats of the night would emerge to terrorise the people.’

If dialogue is not successful, he warned, the alternative is ‘that a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps, including lots of irrationalities.’

The protesters heard the ‘coup’ comment as a veiled threat to impose a civil war.

Suleiman tried to explain the remark by saying: ‘I mean a coup of the regime against itself, or a military coup or an absence of the system.

‘Some force, whether it’s the army or police or the intelligence agency or the (Muslim) Brotherhood or the youth themselves could carry out “creative chaos” to end the regime and take power,’ he said.

Suleiman also reiterated his view that Egypt is not ready for democracy.

‘The culture of democracy is still far away,’ he told Egyptian and foreign reporters.