Egyptians amass for biggest day of anger yet


    CAIRO, Feb 1 (AFP): Egyptians amassed Tuesday for the biggest day of anger yet in their unrelenting campaign to oust President Hosni Mubarak, on the eighth day of a revolt that has already killed over 100.
    Thousands of protesters flooded Cairo`s protest epicentre at Tahrir Square from early morning with “marches of a million” against Mubarak`s creaking regime planned in the Egyptian capital and Alexandria.
    Many spent the night on the square, sleeping in dozens of tents or on the grass, encircled by troops and tanks.
    By midday (1000 GMT) the crowd had swelled and the huge square was crammed with banner-waving protesters, as more streamed on foot towards the site from across Cairo for the march.
    The army, which has said it will not shoot at protesters, checked IDs and searched protesters before letting them into the square. Civilians then checked IDs again, looking for plain-clothes police who they say are being deployed as agents provocateurs.
    “I will stay here till I die,” said a defiant Osama Allam, wearing jacket, tie and jeans.
    “If I die now my whole family will be proud of me. This is what the Egyptian people need,” said the 43-year-old lawyer, an effigy of veteran Mubarak hanging from nearby traffic lights, “Off with your head” daubed on his face.
    “This revolution does not belong to any political party, Muslim group, any group, just the poor Egyptian people,” said one elderly Egyptian man, declining to give his name as protesters carried Mubarak`s mock coffin past him.
    “Freedom or death!” shouted Tarek Shabassi. “I`m ready to stay here 10, 20, 30 years. Dying means nothing to me because I`ve been dead for 30 years, since Mubarak came to power.”
    Another million-strong march was planned in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, as national train services were cancelled and main access roads closed in a bid to stymie protests.
    An AFP correspondent on the main Cairo to Alexandria road said that the army was stopping vehicles entering the capital, with over 100 trucks and cars waiting by the roadside.
    When motorists began arguing with the troops, one of them cocked his assault rifle and told the angry civilians to step back.
    But cars and minibuses could drive in the other direction from Cairo to Alexandria, while regularly being stopped and searched by the army.
    In a bid to defuse the crisis, Mubarak announced a new cabinet that saw the demise of a widely feared interior minister, while his newly appointed vice president offered talks with the opposition,
    But protest organisers denounced the moves as too little too late and announced an indefinite general strike, upping the pressure on the regime of Mubarak, in power for 30 years.
    The revolt has claimed at least 125 lives in clashes between demonstrators and police.

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