CAIRO (BP)--A thunderous roar went up from hundreds of thousands of Egyptians jammed into Cairo's Liberation (Tahrir) Square Feb. 1 as Hosni Mubarak announced he will not run for another term as Egypt's president.
Mubarak's pledge likely will do little, however, to calm the social revolution sparked by protests against his rule. And the euphoria in Liberation Square turned to rage and fear Feb. 2 as Mubarak supporters violently clashed with protesters who continue to demand his immediate departure.
Rival groups threw rocks and chunks of concrete at each other as injuries mounted. Mubarak loyalists wielding whips and clubs rode horses and camels into the crowd -- and were themselves attacked by angry demonstrators. Shots were heard in some areas of the square; members of several foreign news crews reportedly were beaten.
Soldiers circling the square didn't immediately attempt to stop the fighting. The army had appealed to protesters to go home the night before, but promised not to harm those who refused. It was unclear whether the hundreds of Mubarak supporters were acting on their own initiative or on orders from the government, but they reportedly were bused to the square and allowed to enter it by the army. Similar reports of organized pro-Mubarak groups instigating clashes came from the northern coastal city of Alexandria.
Elsewhere in Cairo -- and in other Egyptian cities -- living conditions continued to deteriorate as food shortages grew worse.... Read More