Thousands Protest In Egypt Over Economy, Corruption

People across Egypt took to the streets on Tuesday in demonstrations against corruption and failing economic policies, rallies partly inspired by similar protests that rocked Tunisia this month.

Thousands were protesting in the capital of Cairo, according to the "Front to Defend Egypt Protesters," an alliance of lawyers who helped organize the events.

At first, witnesses said, the police were restrained in Cairo. But later, they said, police fired around a dozen rounds of tear gas on the protesters, and people in the crowd threw the canisters back at the officers.

The group said about 200 demonstrators were in the southern city of Aswan, 2,000 in the eastern city of Ismailiya, and about 3,000 in the northern city of Mahallah.

Protest organizers said they hope to capture the regional momentum for political change set by Tunisians, who 10 days ago forced the collapse of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's 23-year rule.

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The Egyptian government did not issue permits for Tuesday's planned protests.

In an interview released Tuesday with state-run al-Ahram newspaper, Interior Minister Habib Adly warned that "the security agencies are able to stop any attempt to attend" the demonstrations and called the efforts of the "youth staging street protests ineffective."

By early Tuesday morning, more than 90,000 people throughout the country had pledged to participate in the event in a Facebook group called "We Are All Khaled Said," named after an Alexandria activist who was allegedly beaten to death by police.

The Facebook group demands raising the minimum wage, sacking the interior minister, creating two-term presidential term limits and scrapping existing emergency laws that the group says "resulted in police control" over the people and the nation.
CNN