El Baradei likely to join Egypt protests


Washington : Mohamed El Baradei, the former head of the UN nuclear agency, is expected to join demonstrators protesting against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old rule, after returning to Egypt Thursday, a media report stated.

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The anti-government activists have plans for a massive rally in the capital. The activists have used social media websites to call for a big protest Friday in Cairo.

On Wednesday, Egyptian riot police clashed with thousands of demonstrators for a second day, firing rubber bullets and using tear gas and batons on protesters, who defied a government ban on demonstrations, Voice of America reported Thursday.

At least four people died in the two days of protests.

In the city of Suez, east of Cairo, protesters set a government building on fire late Wednesday.

Others attempted to firebomb the ruling National Democratic Party’s local headquarters before police pushed them back with teargas. At least 55 people were hurt in the clashes.

After nightfall, over 2,000 people continued their protests in various parts of Cairo.

Demonstrators in the Egyptian capital set tires on fire and threw rocks at security officials, who drove back the crowds with armoured vehicles and water cannons.

The government says at least 700 people have been arrested in the waves of unrest across the country. The anti-government rallies are the largest demonstrations that Egypt has seen in years.

The protests have seen thousands of people seeking an end to Mubarak’s rule.