Several hundreds have been injured and at least one person dead in Cairo, according to news reports from Al Jezeera, as a result of clashes between supporters of President Mubarak and demonstrators who have been calling for his resignation for more than a week.
Mubarak supporters forced their way into the central Tahrir Square, which demonstrators have been occupying for days and where huge crowds demonstrated peacefully on 1 February. There were front-on clashes between the two sides while the army stood by, unable to intervene without causing even higher casualties in what looked like hand-to-hand street fighting between the two sides. Emergency ambulances also appeared to arrive late on the scene to help those injured.
Tensions have risen quickly in Egypt since the state television appearance of Mubarak on the evening of 1 February when he said that he would not stand for a sixth term of office in the September presidential elections but that he had no intention of resigning before the end of his term. He has been president of Egypt since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981.
He made no concessions to the demands of demonstrators nor to opposition politicians. Instead he lashed out against episodes of violence during the past few days, such as damage to the Egyptian Museum and the headquarters of his own party, the National Democratic Party, close by. He made no reference to the huge peaceful demonstrations that had taken across the country the same day, but instead made reference to what he called