Police blocked main streets of this capital of nearly 25 million inhabitants, where *”nothing will be the same again after these protests,”* a diplomat requesting anonymity told.
However, the same source refused to establish a parallel with the crisis prompting the collapse of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
*”Revolution, Not Repression,”* and *”The People Want the Regime to Leave”*, are other slogans chanted by the demonstrators in this unprecedented situation in nearly six decades of republican Egypt.
At least four people have been reported as wounded so far, and an undetermined number of others have been taken to hospitals with symptoms of asphyxia due to tear gas used by riot police to disperse the protests. These figures are yet to be confirmed due to severely disrupted communications.
Gas service has been suspended to prevent participants in protests from getting supplies to make Molotov cocktails or burn tires in clashes with riot police, supported by armed people in plain clothes.
At noon police surrounded the faithful who were praying, even as the protest was called for the end of prayer.
Versions circulate here that former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed el Baradei, is being held by authorities.
He is the most relevant opposition figure under current circumstances, with government sources insisting on the influence of Muslim Brotherhood in the organization of the protests.
But this has been refuted by well-informed media, which consider improbable the formation of a Muslim republic in Egypt.