3 Dead, 100 Injured as Egypt Enters 16th Day of Unrest
Clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square have entered their 16th day, as demonstrators continue to call for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, and officials in the government are wondering how much more the country can take.
“There must be an end to this crisis as soon as possible,” Vice President Omar Suleiman told reporters Wednesday night. “We won’t want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.”
According to a security official quoted by the AFP news agency, three people were killed and at least 100 others have been injured in southern Egypt as anti-government riots continued over the past two days.
Protesters torched buildings in a city some 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of Cairo, among them a courthouse, two police stations and a building owned by the National Democratic Party formerly led by Mubarak.
Police responded with live fire.
“The culture of democracy is still far away,” observed Suleiman, stating bluntly that the country is just not ready for an American-style government. The former head of the country’s intelligence service warned of “the dark bats of the night emerging to terrorize the people” if dialogue aimed at ending the standoff is not successful. In such a scenario, he said, “a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps, including lots of irrationalities.”
He later explained the remark, adding that he had meant “a coup of the regime against itself, or a military coup or an absence of the system. Some force, whether it’s the army or police or the intelligence agency or the Muslim brotherhood or the youth themselves could carry out ‘creative chaos’ to end the regime and take power.”