On Wednesday, protesters faced tear gas, water cannons and beatings from the heavy police presence on the streets of Cairo for the second consecutive day. Up to 1,200 people were arrested, including a number of journalists. Elsewhere in the country, about 1,000 people gathered outside the morgue in Suez to protest the death of one of three protesters who died in clashes on Tuesday. Protesters threw petrol bombs at a government building, setting parts of it on fire. Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Peace laureate, is expected to return to Egypt from Vienna today to join the demonstrations.
Clinton: Egypt Should Enact Reforms, Respect “Universal Rights”
After initially declining to criticize President Hosni Mubarak’s government, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Egypt to respect universal rights and adopt reforms.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: *”We support the universal rights of the Egyptian people, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and we urge the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications, including on social media sites. We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.”*
**Thousands Protest Saleh in Yemen**
In Yemen, thousands of people are demonstrating against President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital Sana’a today for the second time in less than a week. The demonstrations appear to be the largest ever to directly oppose Saleh’s three-decade leadership. Like Mubarak, Saleh has been a critical U.S. ally in the Middle East. Classified U.S. Department of State cables released by WikiLeaks show the United States and Saleh have covered up the use of U.S. warplanes to bomb Yemen.