CAIRO Jan. 25, 2011 — -- At least three people have died as tens of thousands of protestors continue to pack the streets of Cairo in what has become the biggest protest in recent Egyptian history.
Two protestors died in the city of Suez and a security officer died in downtown Cairo as protestors calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign clashed with police. At least 100 protestors were injured in Cairo, where police used tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and dogs to try to disperse the crowds, and Twitter has been blocked.
The Associated Press said that 10,000 people had flooded downtown Cairo, where demonstrators shouted "Down with Mubarak" and "Tunisia, Tunisia" as part of a protest called "Day of Anger" that was purposely scheduled for "National Police Day." Earlier this month, protests in Tunisia sparked by the self-immolation of a disgruntled job seeker and spread by social media brought down the government of President Ben Ali.
In Egypt, the protest remained nonviolent for most of the day with marches in the square and around the capital. However, by late afternoon a large group began to move towards the Ministry of the Interior, home of the police force, and security forces responded by using rubber bullets, tear gas and water hoses.
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The group "We are Khaled Said," named after an Alexandria teen beaten to death by police last year, organized the mass nationwide protest using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. By mid-afternoon the twitter hash tag #Jan25 was being used more than 100 times per minute, and had made enough of an impact that Twitter had gone down, apparently blocked by state authorities.
Protestors have been resourceful in finding ways to stay online, however, turning to sites like anyonymouse.com, which hides a user's IP address, making it impossible to block. Others are sending their tweets to an email address outside Egypt.
As of 10 p.m. Egyptian time, thousands of protestors remained in central Cairo's Tahrir Square, with plans to spend the night.
President Mubarak, meanwhile, gave a speech at a military academy located just outside Cairo this morning, but has not yet publicly addressed the day's events.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hosam Zaki, said that "Egyptians have a right to express themselves" and that police were acting to protect the public and the demonstrators. Zaki also said that at around 3 p.m., protestors had begun to riot, damage public property and throw stones at police, which wounded a number of officers.