26 Jan 2011

Three reported dead in Egypt protests

9:51 am on 26 January 2011

Three people are reported to have been killed in large anti-government protests in Egypt.

Inspired by the popular uprising in Tunisia that toppled the unpopular president, thousands marched through the capital and other cities chanting anti-government slogans, after activists called for a "day of revolt" in a web message.

State television said one person had died in Cairo, where the biggest rallies were held, while doctors in Suez said two protesters there had died.

The events in Cairo were co-ordinated on a Facebook page. Tens of thousands of supporters clicked on the page to say they would take part.

During the demonstration, running street battles broke out near the Parliament building in Cairo.

Protests also broke out in other areas, including the eastern city of Ismailiya and the northern port city of Alexandria.

Reports said the social networking site Twitter had been blocked in Egypt and that mobile phone networks in the Cairo area were down.

Protests are uncommon in Egypt, which President Hosni Mubarak has ruled since 1981, tolerating little dissent.

Weeks of unrest in Tunisia eventually toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month.