Hundreds of thousands gather in Cairo for eighth day of protests

Reuters/Suhaib Salem

Hundreds of thousands of protestors have flooded into Cairo's Tahrir square in the largest demonstration so far to drive President Hosni Mubarak from power. The army, which has said it will not shoot protestors, checked identity cards and searched people before allowing them entrance into the square. 


RFI's Michel Arsenault at Tahrir Square, Cairo

In Egypt's second city of Alexandria, 50,000 protestors massed in front of the Qaed Ibrahim mosque before marching down the corniche of the Mediterranean port. The Alexandria demonstrations were smaller than those in the capital, although they are expected to grow much larger as hundreds of people continue to join.

Meanwhile, Mohammed ElBaradei, who is emerging as the leader of the anti-regime protests, says Mubarak should go by Friday. A committee of opposition groups, including ElBaradei and the powerful Muslimn Brotherhood, have pledged there will be no negotiations with the regime until the president steps down.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has urged Mubarak to "meet his people's desire for change". In his weekly speech to his party's lawmakers, Erdogan said he was sending sincere advice and a very sincere warning to the Egyptian president.

Erdogan has postponed an upcoming visit to Egypt at the end of the week because of the turmoil gripping the country. He says he will return when the situation in the country returns to normal.

The United States has sent a veteran diplomat to Egypt to meet top officials. The New York Times reports that former ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner, is to meet directly with Mubarak. The report did not say whether Wisner would be urging Mubarak to leave office or bringing a specific message.


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