A few weeks ago, Egypt was seen as an unlikely successor to the unrest in Tunisia. Despite its unemployment and corruption, Egypt was reckoned to have a better security service and a better ability to resist. Now, as protests spread throughout the country, a Tunisian-style ending doesn’t seem so far fetched (nor guaranteed):
Cairo, Alexandria and Suez have been placed under curfew as the Egyptian government battles to restore control after the biggest protests so far. Across the country tens of thousands of protesters turned out after Friday prayers and clashed with police. President Hosni Mubarak, facing the biggest challenge to his authority of his 31 years in power, has ordered the army onto the streets of Cairo.
Mr Mubarak is expected to make a statement shortly. The curfew is now in effect, but live television pictures from Cairo continue to show large crowds on the streets. Flames have been seen from the area around the headquarters of the governing National Democratic Party (NDP) in Cairo.
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Filed in: Middle East