|Crowds mass in major cities calling for President Mubarak to step down, as death toll from protests crosses 50.|
Al Jazeera, 29 Jan 2011
Demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Saturday morning, shouting “Go away, go away!”, the Reuters news agency said.
Similar crowds were gathering in the cities of Alexandria and Suez, Al Jazeera’s correspondents reported.
In Alexandria, our correspondent Rawya Rageh reported that dozens of marchers were calling on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down.
“They are calling for regime change, not cabinet change,” Rageh said.
In Suez, Al Jazeera’s Jamal ElShayyal reported that protesters were gathering, and that the military was not confronting them.
ElShayyal quoted a military officer as saying that troops would “not fire a single bullet on Egyptians”, regardless of where the orders to do so come from.
The latest protests reflected popular discontent with Mubarak’s midnight address, where he announced that he was dismissing his government but remaining in power.
They also repeatedly shouted that their intentions were peaceful.
Reuters reported that the police “fired shots” on the protesters in Cairo. An independent confirmation of that report is awaited.
The road leading from Tahrir Square to the parliament and cabinet buildings has been blocked by the military, the Associated Press news agency reported.
Al Jazeera’s Jane Dutton, reporting from Cairo, said the normally bustling city looked more like a warzone early on Saturday morning.
Tanks have been patrolling the streets of the capital since early in the morning.
Rising death toll
Cities across Egypt witnessed unprecedented protests on Friday, with tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets after noon prayers calling for an end to Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
The number of people killed in protests is reported to be in the scores, with at least 23 deaths confirmed in Alexandria, and at least 15 confirmed in Suez, with a further 15 deaths in Cairo.
Al Jazeera’s Rageh in Alexandria said that the bodies of 23 protesters had been received at the local morgue, some of them brutally disfigured.
ElShayyal, our correspondent in Suez confirmed 15 bodies were received at the morgue in Suez, while Dan Nolan, our correspondent in Cairo, confirmed that 15 bodies were present at a morgue in Cairo.
More than 1,000 were also wounded in Friday’s violent protests, which occurred in Cairo and Suez, in addition to Alexandria.