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In PHOTOS: Cairo's deadly street battles

Last updated on: February 3, 2011 08:27 IST

In PHOTOS: Cairo's deadly street battles

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Violent clashes broke out between pro-and anti-Hosni Mubarak supporters and Army fired warning shots in the air, a day after a defiant Egyptian President said he would not seek another term in September but the protesters insisted he quit immediately.

A dramatic and potentially deadly situation unfolded in which petrol bombs or Molotov cocktails were hurled by anti-Mubarak supporters from the edge of Tahrir Square in central Cairo, the epicentre of the nine-day protests against the President's 30-year-old rule.

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Image: Pro and anti-Mubarak supporters clash at Tahrir Square in Cairo
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
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Pan-Arab TV Channel Al Jazeera reported that around 500 persons were injured in the clashes between the two sides that continued to rage amid some reports that some western journalists were roughed up and beaten.


Image: Opponents and supporters of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak fought with fists, stones and clubs in Cairo
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Cairo's deadly street battles

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The military ordered the protesters wanting Mubarak's immediate ouster to "go home" after the President rejected their demand but they dug their heels showing no sings of relenting.


Image: A pro-Mubarak supporter is held by anti-Mubarak demonstrators during clashes at Tahrir Square
Photographs: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Cairo's deadly street battles

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According to eyewitnesses, the warning shots were fired in the air by the troops at the main rally against Mubarak and it is thought to be the first time they have resorted to this action since they were deployed on Friday.

For the first time, 82-year-old Mubarak's supporters took to the streets in central Cairo after they broke through the rally by protesters and urged the President not to quit under any circumstances.


Image: Pro and anti-Mubarak supporters clash at Tahrir Square
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Cairo's deadly street battles

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The action by Mubarak's protesters appeared to be a move by the President to stamp out massive protests calling for him to quit. Mubarak has been in power since 1981 serving five consecutive terms.


Image: Pro-government supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (Left) clash with anti-government protesters
Photographs: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Cairo's deadly street battles

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Several thousand supporters of Mubarak, including some riding horses and camels and wielding whips, attacked anti-government protesters as the nine-day unrest took a dangerous new turn.

In chaotic scenes, the two sides pelted each other with stones, and protesters dragged attackers off their horses.


Image: Demonstrators take cover during rioting between pro and anti Mubarak supporters
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Cairo's deadly street battles

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In a televised address, Mubarak said he would not seek a sixth term in September, but also indicated he would not cede the presidency immediately, eliciting boos and chants of "Leave, leave" from protesters in central Cairo.

His remarks on Tuesday night did little to appease the crowds still gathered in Tahrir Square, a focal point for demonstrations in the Egyptian capital.


Image: Pro and anti-Mubarak supporters clash during rioting at Tahrir Square
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: Cairo's deadly street battles

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As midnight neared, they insisted they would not leave until Mubarak stepped down.

A military spokesman appeared on state TV and asked the protesters to disperse so life in the most populous Arab nation could get back to normal.


Image: General view during anti-government clashes with supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square
Photographs: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
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The United States condemned the violence and repeated its call for restraint.

"The United States deplores and condemns the violence that is taking place in Egypt, and we are deeply concerned about attacks on the media and peaceful demonstrators," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.


Image: Pro-government and supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (top) and anti-government demonstrators (bottom) clash in Tahrir Square, the centre of anti-government demonstrations
Photographs: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
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Egypt's army, hugely popular with the public, has so far refrained from interfering with the huge protests and the marches by the people and it was not immediately known whether its new warnings were a prelude to any clampdown.

The army's warning came as Mubarak, buckling under pressure, promised not to stand for presidential elections scheduled in September, but said he had no intention to flee Egypt.


Image: A demonstrator gestures during rioting between pro and anti-Mubarak supporters at Tahrir Square
Photographs: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
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