Mubarak supporters on horses charge protesters

Correspondents said the army did not respond to the anti-Mubarak protesters' calls for intervention.

Mubarak supporters on horses charge protesters

Supporters of Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak riding camels and horses, wielding whips and sticks, ploughed into protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Wednesday.

Reuters correspondents said the army did not respond to the anti-Mubarak protesters' calls for intervention.

Protesters against Mubarak's 30-year rule fled the square, running away from the president's supporters. Other people on foot were also carrying sticks. Dozens sustained head injuries.

The rival sides fought running battles, some leading the charges with make-shift cardboard shields.

About 1,500 anti-Mubarak protesters, fewer than in previous days, had rallied earlier in Tahrir Square to reject his promise not to stand for president in a September election.

Several hundred anti-government protesters tried to get into the square from the north, but were pushed back by Mubarak supporters, some of whom threw rocks at them from the top of army vehicles.

The army said earlier on Wednesday it was time for his opponents to clear the streets.

Mubarak loyalists rallied across the capital on Wednesday in a show of support for the 82-year-old president.

Some pro-Mubarak supporters were carrying placards reading: "We will liberate Tahrir".

As they approached the square, they chanted "Thank you, Mr. President".

A convoy of Mubarak supporters in cars choked the main road from central Cairo to the airport. One girl, leaning out of a car window and holding aloft a scarf in the Egyptian national colours, had the words "Uncle Mubarak" daubed on her cheek.

Placards accused Arab media of broadcasting anti-Mubarak propaganda: "A salute to Egypt and a salute to Mubarak". Another read: "Down with Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya".

In Suez, some 300 to 400 pro-Mubarak supporters carried Egyptian flags and banners saying "Yes to Mubarak", "Mubarak, you are in our hearts".

The organising committee, which controls access to Tahrir, said earlier it was taking precautions for fear that pro-Mubarak groups might try to cause trouble there, organisers said.

State television coverage of the demonstrations has flip-flopped from almost totally ignoring them in the first days to extensive coverage since Friday's mass "Day of Wrath".

Immediately after Mubarak spoke late on Tuesday, state television showed images of pro-Mubarak protesters in the square.

"The demonstrations I saw yesterday looked like they were orchestrated," said Mayan Fawaz, a 30-year-old PR professional, who saw nearly 2,000 pro-Mubarak demonstrations near the area of Cairo where she lives on Wednesday.

"If these people were really pro-Mubarak where on earth have they been the past week? People on the streets were saying these demonstrators were hired by the NDP (ruling party)," she said.

Reuters

Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2011, 17:35
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