Thursday, April 28, 2005

And It Still Burns On & On & On & On......

The brushfire of democracy, started by the Bush administration, has grown into a raging fire of change in the Middle East...and muslim extremism stands no chance of dousing this giant!

Pro-Reform Activists Rally Across Egypt

Apr 27, 10:48 PM (ET)By SARAH EL-DEEB

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Hundreds of pro-democracy activists protested in 15 Egyptian cities and towns Wednesday, drawing out large numbers of riot police who briefly detained 75 protesters, organizers said.

Witnesses in some cities, including Suez in the east and Benha in the Nile Delta, reported that police beat protesters with batons to disperse them.

The organizers said they were pleased that the protest had spread from Cairo, where they've held numerous protests during the past five months. "We are expanding to cover all of Egypt," said Amin Iskandar, a leader of the group, Egyptian Movement for Change.

The group has been unappeased by government proposals to open the presidential election process to more than one candidate and held a series of protests since December, calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 24-year rule, the repeal of emergency laws that give security forces broad powers, and pro-democratic reforms.

Under internal and U.S. pressure, Mubarak earlier this year asked parliament to adopt a constitutional change that would open up this fall's presidential election. Previously Egyptians voted 'yes' or 'no' for one candidate, nominated by parliament.

Mubarak has not yet said if he would seek another term. He has held office since Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981.

In Cairo, hundreds of riot police barred 300 protesters from the Supreme Court, so they assembled on the steps of the nearby journalists syndicate.

"Down with Mubarak! Down with Suleiman!" the demonstrators chanted, referring to President Hosni Mubarak and his chief of intelligence, Omar Suleiman.

About 1,200 people rallied in the southern city of Luxor, including lawyers and Islamists. Hundreds also gathered in the southern cities of Minya and Qena, and at venues in northern Egypt including Alexandria, Suez and Benha.

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