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Military helicopters deployed in Cairo skies to back police
Published in Almasry Alyoum on 28 - 01 - 2011

Miliary helicopters were observed in the skies of Cairo at 8:20PM Friday evening, about two hours after a Egypt-wide curfew officially began. They were called in to reinforce military and police personel on Cairo's streets. Gunshots were also reported throughout the city.
Fires were witnessed moving closer to the landmark Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in the center of Cairo.
Egyptian armed forces backed by armored cars deployed in Cairo and other major cities on Friday to tackle huge popular protests demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
Mubarak declared a night-time curfew after a day of running street battles between police and demonstrators unprecedented in his 30 year-rule. But clashes continued into the evening and a Reuters witness said shots were heard in central Cairo.
Dozens of people were wounded during the day when security forces fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon at crowds and baton charged them.
The protesters hurled back stones and shouted "Down, Down, Hosni Mubarak."
Al Jazeera television said at least one person was killed in a square in central Cairo, although the report could not be confirmed.
The demonstrations involving tens of thousands of people were the biggest and bloodiest in four consecutive days of protests by people fed up with unemployment, poverty, corruption and the lack of freedom under Mubarak.
"This protest is not going to stop. They won't and can't trick the people again and give us some lame concessions. Hosni has to go," protester Mohamed Taha in Hussein said after fleeing a police attack.
"I am 70 years old, I am going to die, but these people have to fight to live," he said.
"According to what some provinces witnessed in terms of riots, lawlessness, looting, destruction, attack and burning of public and private property including attacks on banks and hotels, President Hosni Mubarak decreed a curfew as a military ruler," a state TV announcer said.
He also ordered the army to back up the police in their efforts to keep control of the streets. As darkness fell, tanks took up positions across the city.
"The armed forces started to deploy forces in the governorates of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez as a first stage in implementing the decree...imposing a curfew starting from 6 p.m.," the official news agency reported.
Some 2-3000 people thronged around a military vehicle near the central Tahrir square in downtown Cairo, a Reuters witness said. They climbed on it, shaking hands with the soldiers, and chanted: "The army and the people are united" and "The revolution has come."
Shots were heard near parliament and TV showed the headquarters of the ruling party in flames, the blaze lighting up the night sky.
In the eastern city of Suez, site of the strategically crucial canal, armored cars deployed in front of the charred remains of a police station, a Reuters witness said.
Dozens of protesters climbed on the military vehicles in Suez. They tried to talk to soldiers who attempted to wave them off.


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