|code: 223005||Date: 2011/01/28||source: AP|
ElBaradei attends prayers amid uprising / Clashes in Cairo Extend Arab World’s Days of Unrest
(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Protests were also reported in the cities of Suez, Alexandria and several others, including Al Arish in northern Sinai.
police doused one of the most prominent opposition figures, Mohammed ElBaradei, with a water-cannon and beat supporters who tried to shield him. Mr. ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, returned to Cairo on Thursday, promising to join the largely leaderless protests that have so far been propelled by young people.
Earlier, Internet and cellphone connections were closed or restricted in Cairo, Alexandria and other places. Riot police took to the streets of Cairo before the Friday noon prayers that in many parts of the Islamic world have been a prelude to unrest as worshippers pour onto the streets.
The protests have underscored the blistering pace of events that have transformed the visage of the Arab world, particularly among regimes that have traditionally enjoyed the support of successive administrations in Washington.
Earlier this month, entrenched autocracies seemed confident of their ability to ride out the protests. But, just two weeks ago, on Jan. 14, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia fled abruptly into exile after weeks of protest and his departure emboldened demonstrators to take to the streets in other countries.
Images of the lowly challenging the mighty have been relayed from one capital to the next, partly through the aggressive coverage of Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite channel. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have given the protesters a potent weapon, enabling them to elude the traditional police measures to monitor and curb dissent. But various regimes have fallen back on a more traditional playbook, relying on security forces to face angry demonstrators on the streets.
In Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, a focal point of protest, reporters on Friday saw black-uniformed riot police taking up position, pouring from armored trucks, and protesters said several members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition organization, had been arrested overnight.
The police presence in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast was strongest in the center of the city. At the Sidi Bishir mosque outside the center of town, a dozen men wore Egyptian flags wrapped around their shoulders. With cellphone and Internet connections down, activists across the city tried to determine the extent of arrests overnight by security officials.