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Protesters say now more determined to topple Mubarak

world Updated: Feb 03, 2011 16:23 IST
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Anti-government protesters said on Thursday they were more determined than ever to topple President Hosni Mubarak after supporters loyal to him charged Tahrir Square, sparking violence that killed five people.

Hundreds of people camped overnight in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of protests seeking to end Mubarak's 30 years of authoritarian rule.

The scene was calm after dawn broke after violence throughout Wednesday and overnight.

"One way or another we will bring Mubarak down," some chanted in the early morning.

"We will not give up, we will not sell out," others shouted.

Despite the violence, the square stayed in the control of anti-government protesters. Many protesters guarded barricades around the square against pro-Mubarak loyalists.

Television footage on Al Jazeera showed army units in the area arresting people in civilian clothes. Protesters had said on Wednesday that some pro-Mubarak supporters who attacked them had been questioned by soldiers.

Egypt's health minister said five people were killed in the violence and 836 wounded, while 86 of those were still hospitalised. Al Arabiya television, without citing sources, said more than 10 were killed and 1,500 wounded.

Protesters made makeshift clinics to provide first aid to the wounded before sending them to hospital when needed.

Gunshots, petrol bombs, stones
"Things have calmed down now but through the night, we were getting dozens of wounded every 15 minutes. We had casualties all over the place. Thugs surrounding us tried to attack more of us but we managed, thankfully, to block their advance," Dr Mohamed Abdel Hamid told Reuters.

Wednesday's protesters saw some pro-Mubarak supporters charge at the anti-government protesters on horseback and camels.

The Mubarak loyalists opened fire and threw stones and petrol bombs. Protesters in the square barricaded themselves in the square and hurled stones back.

They shielded themselves with metal sheets and other items available in the square and its surrounding shops and buildings. They also chased loyalists, seizing at least five and handing them over to the army.

The army has largely stood by without intervening, despite repeated calls from the protesters to help.

"What happened yesterday (Wednesday) made us more more determined to remove President Mubarak," the protest movement Kefaya, or Enough, said a spokesman to Al Jazeera television.

"There will be no negotiations with any member of Mubarak's regime after what happened yesterday and what is still happening in Tahrir Square," he said.

A man addressing anti-government protesters by speaker told those in the square who had slept to head to a barricade near the museum end of the square to help those who had spent the night guarding the area from pro-Mubarak protesters.

"There have been arrests of criminals and trouble-makers," the man said, without saying who had been arrested.