Over 860 anti-government demonstrators have been arrested in Cairo and Suez on day two of protests, and six have died, according to a security source. View video and photos of the protests plus the latest updates. Plus, full coverage of the unrest in the Middle East.
A second day of protests in Egypt has led police to arrest more than 860 anti-government demonstrators in the cities of Cairo and Suez Wednesday. The interior ministry said that anyone taking to the streets would be prosecuted. The government has also sporadically blocked social media sites; Twitter confirmed that Egypt had banned their site at around 8 a.m. on Wednesday. The protests seek to end President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-rule of the country and were inspired, in part, by protesters in Tunisia. Many call this the largest demonstration in Egypt since the 1970s.
Photos: The Protests in Egypt
As the demonstrations continue, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bluntly called upon Cairo's government to reform. "We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," Clinton said in a statement. "We urge the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications including on social media sites." Egyptian authorities have banned protests, blocked Twitter and Facebook, and arrested marchers.
The U.S. had previously refrained from criticizing Egypt, a close ally and America's second-largest recipient of foreign aid. These remarks represent a pivot in U.S. policy toward Egypt, experts say, and are Clinton's toughest words yet. Egypt was the first Arab nation to make peace with Israel, and has long been a strategic partner of the United States. Still, Clinton's comments suggest a desire for genuine change from the regime, says Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations. The U.S. has pushed for greater democracy and political participation throughout the Middle East, but, in the past, the U.S. has backed some authoritarian governments in the region to help combat terrorism. Not supporting the protesters is problematic for the U.S., which runs the risk of losing support of young Arabs involved in the rallies.
Egyptian authorities arrested Haridi Hussein Haridi, an Associated Press cameraman and his 23-year old assistant, Haitham Badry, Wednesday morning in Cairo while they were filming protests, MSNBC reports. They were carrying press documents, allegedly issued by Egyptian authorities, according to the AP, which also has details on the arrest itself: "Haridi telephoned the AP news bureau to say the two had been pushed into a police van and were being driven to an unknown location before his mobile phone was disconnected. Nearly 18 hours later, Haridi telephoned a colleague to say he and Badry were in police custody. He said they had not been mistreated but would not be released soon. He said he did not know why they were still being held."
Video: The Protests in Egypt