Protesters packed Cairo’s Tahrir Square at mid-day Tuesday, standing shoulder-to-shoulder as large groups still streamed in for the planned "march of millions."
Soldiers stood guard and helicopters hovered overhead as demonstrators gathered to demand President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation.
Egypt’s government posted troops at key locations and cut internet service as activists pledged to hold major demonstrations in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities Tuesday — a week after rallies began calling for an end to Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule.
In Cairo, protesters set up their own checkpoints to keep weapons out of Tahrir — or Liberation — Square.
Mubarak, now 82, imposed an emergency decree after the 1981 assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat. Since then he has ruled with an iron fist. The wave of protests against Mubarak’s regime erupted following the uprising in Tunisia that ousted its longtime strongman January 14.
The protesters are calling for democratization — for a government that they feel represents them. They want an end to what they complain is a corrupt regime. Some have called for the government to face a trial.
A joint statement issued Tuesday by a so-called coalition of six political parties, including the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, laid out five demands for the government:
The evolution of Egypt’s protests
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— The resignation of Mubarak. The statement calls his presidency illegitimate following the week of demonstrations against his government.
— The formation of a transitional government to calm the unrest.
— The establishment of a committee that will create a new constitution for the country, one that “will guarantee the principle of equality and the circulation of power.”
— The dissolvement of parliamentary councils in the wake of “forged” elections.
— The use of the military “to protect the country according to the constitution.”