EMPEROR STRIKES BACK: 5 Killed, Hundreds Wounded As Pro-Mubarak Thugs Clash With Protesters

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[Photos by Sarah Carr]

JERUSALEM POST: Machine gunfire was heard on Wednesday night, shortly after Egyptian state television ordered all demonstrators to evacuate Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square. A spokesman from the Egyptian Health Ministry on Wednesday said that 600 people were injured and one man was killed in the recent round of clashes that erupted in central Cairo earlier in the day. Numerous explosives were hurled as the pro-regime mob attempted to push through a no-man’s land towards the anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square. As Supporters and opponents clashed, raining stones, bottles and firebombs on each other in scenes of uncontrolled violence, soldiers stood by without intervening. Government backers galloped in on horses and camels, only to be dragged to the ground and beaten bloody. At the front line, next to the famed Egyptian Museum at the edge of Tahrir Square, pro-government rioters blanketed the rooftops of nearby buildings, dumping bricks and firebombs onto the crowd below — in the process setting a tree ablaze inside the museum grounds. On the street below, the two sides crouched behind abandoned trucks and hurled chunks of concrete and bottles at each other, and some government supporters waved machetes. MORE

REUTERS: Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak opened fire on protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Thursday, killing at least five, in a fresh spike in violence over an unprecedented challenge to his 30-year-old rule. The opposition responded by renewing demands that he quit. Thousands of dissidents barricaded themselves into the central Cairo square, vowing to remain until Mubarak goes. In the overnight fighting, machinegun fire echoed for more than an hour across the central square where protesters are unsatisfied by Mubarak’s pledge to step down only in September.By daylight there was a lull. Troops with tanks continued to look on. But in mid-morning groups of pro-Mubarak supporters were seen moving again toward the square with knives and sticks. MORE

RELATED: The organizers of a protest against Egypt‘s government said they had detained 120 people carrying identities associating them with either the police or the ruling party, most of them caught while attacking the demonstrators. MORE

RELATED: NickKristof In my part of Tahrir, pro-#Mubarak mobs arrived in buses, armed with machetes, straight-razors and clubs, very menacing. [via TWITTER]

RELATED: Nile TV’s May Kamel also quits after they were instructed not cover any violence against demonstrators. [via TWITTER]

RELATED: Journalists covering protests in Cairo, including CNN’s Anderson Cooper and two Associated Press correspondents, have been roughed up in the crowd. MORE

RELATED: An Egyptian Facebook activist and leader of the group known as the April 6 Youth has been arrested in Cairo, friends told Wired.com Wednesday in e-mails. Ahmed Maher, 30, gained prominence in 2008 as one of the co-founders of the April 6 Youth, a solidarity group launched to support protests. Organizing mostly online, especially on Facebook, it is a carefully decentralized network of activists, who have used the tools of social media to broadcast grievances with the Mubarak regime, mobilize support, evade the government’s ubiquitous security forces, and, now, help to bring the Mubarak regime to its knees. MORE

RELATED: More Dramatic Photos From Tahrir Square

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