News / Africa

Egyptian Tensions Simmer, Boil Over in Alexandria

Egyptian protestors wave national flags and shout anti-government slogans during mass rally in the northern Mediterranean port of Alexandria on November 25, 2011.
Egyptian protestors wave national flags and shout anti-government slogans during mass rally in the northern Mediterranean port of Alexandria on November 25, 2011.

Frustrated Egyptians are again taking their anger out on police, while others rallied in support of the ruling military council as the country prepares for pivotal parliamentary elections.

Tear gas canisters clouded the dark streets of the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria late Friday night, where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces.

Many of the protesters threw rocks and stones at riot police guarding the city's main security building before being chased away by tear gas and police in armored trucks.

Meanwhile, in Cairo, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets urging support for the police and military.  One woman defended security forces, saying they are only trying to protect ordinary Egyptians.

The late night rallies followed a massive protest in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square.  Tens of thousands packed the square earlier Friday, demanding an immediate end to military rule.

Many also criticized the military ruling council's appointment of an official who served under former president Hosni Mubarak as the country new prime minister

Kamal el-Ganzouri said Friday he would not be able to form a new Cabinet before Monday's parliamentary elections.  The vote is the first since Mr. Mubarak was forced from power.

Egyptian authorities announced that voting will take place over two days, instead of one day. Reuters news agency quotes an Interior Ministry official as saying the change is designed to ease concerns about overcrowding and security issues.

At least 41 people have been killed in protest-related clashes across the country.

Some protesters touted Friday's so-called "million-man" rally in Tahrir Square as the "last chance" for the military council to quit. Many vowed  to stay in the square until their demands are met.

Both the U.S. and the European Union on Friday urged Egypt to speed up the transition to civilian government.

Also Friday, three American students arrested during a protest in Egypt were released and were preparing to fly home.

Derrick Sweeney, Luke Gates and Gregory Porter attended American University in Cairo and were arrested Sunday on the roof of a building near Tahrir Square.  Officials accused them of throwing firebombs at security forces who were fighting protesters.

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