afrol News, 9 February - In Cairo, trade unions and striking workers dominated today's peaceful yet impressive anti-government protests. Outside the capital, police attacked protesters, killing at least three.
At least three protesters were killed by security forces in eastern Egypt today, following violent clashes between around 3,000 protesters and a police force. The confrontation took place in the desert town of Wadi al-Jadid, being the first report of major protest marches in the part of the country.
In rural Egypt and in minor towns, police so far has had an iron grip on the situation. Strong police presence and occasional pro-regime mobs going through the streets have so far prevented anti-government protests here. The Wadi al-Jadid protests, turning violent, there could be a sign that the unrest is spreading to rural areas.
The confrontational policies in rural Egypt are a source of concern, as they could end up in much violence. Unconfirmed reports from other parts of the country indicated that furious protesters had attacked and burned down police stations, state security buildings and ruling party headquarters, with police and army forces hitting back.
In central Cairo, meanwhile, today's protests became larger than expected - following up on yesterday's large success - as a growing number of striking workers and trade unions have joined the movement.
Strikes during the day became more and more widespread as the word got aro
Central Cairo's Tahrir Square this evening was again packed with protesters
und. Thousands of oil workers started protesting in front of the Oil Ministry. In the afternoon, Cairo public transport workers joined the mass action. Later, even military production company workers joined in.
The announcement of one strike after the other was met by cheering crowds at central Cairo's Tahrir Square, which remains the protesters' main camp. Trade unionists led their comrades in a continuous stream towards Tahrir during the day and afternoon.
Striking workers were also reported to have built up the core of renewed protests in Alexandria and Suez, Egypt's second and fourth largest cities. Even workers at the Suez Canal are starting to join the strike and protest movement, which could have large-scale economic implications, not only for Egypt.
For tomorrow, even more strikes have been announced, with oil workers also outside Cairo to lat down work. Also in Suez, the strike is expected to be widened.
Protesters are optimistic. "History has shown us that when the working-class enter the arena, the regime is finished," activist Hossam el-Hamalawy commented from Tahrir Square. He and thousands of other protesters keep occupying the square, chanting anti-government slogans and demanding President Mubarak must step down.
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