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Egyptians Defy Curfew in Fifth Day of Mass Protests


Men stand on top of an armored Egyptian Army vehicle during a protest in Cairo, Jan 29, 2011

Men stand on top of an armored Egyptian Army vehicle during a protest in Cairo, Jan 29, 2011

Darkness has fallen on the fifth day of demonstrations in Egypt, with thousands of protesters defying a curfew to remain on the streets and press for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

The government had announced that Saturday's curfew would take effect at 4 p.m. local time ((1400 UTC)), two hours earlier than Friday, but crowds remained in Cairo's streets and squares.

Late Saturday, President Hosni Mubarak named intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as vice president -- the first time the president has named a person to that post. He also named aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq as prime minister and asked him to form a new Cabinet.

Egyptian opposition activist Mohamed ElBaradei reacted Saturday saying the new appointments were not enough. In an interview with Al Jazeera , the Nobel laureate said protesters want a regime change and end to what he called a dictatorship.

Saturday was the fifth straight day of protests calling for an end to President Mubarak's 30-year rule. Tens of thousands of protesters joined demonstrations Saturday in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.

Witnesses reported hearing gunfire in Cairo suburbs Saturday night, and there were also reports of scattered looting in Cairo and Alexandria.

News organizations say at least three protesters were killed Saturday when police opened fire on demonstrators near the Interior Ministry. News reports say at least 62 people have died and more than 1,000 have been injured in this week's wave of unrest.

In a televised speech late Friday, Mr. Mubarak said he would replace his Cabinet and implement political and economic reforms.

View the slide show of anti-government protests in Egypt


Meanwhile, a leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says more than 150 members of the banned opposition group have been arrested. Abdel Mounoum Abdel Fouthouh told VOA the group wants transparent elections that lead to the election of a new president who is chosen by the people.

Two mobile phone networks resumed service Saturday, about 24 hours after the government instructed mobile operators to cut services in an effort to stop Friday's massive protests.

U.S. President Barack Obama appealed to Egypt Friday to restore Internet and communication services and refrain from violence against peaceful protesters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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