Over 1,000 detained in Egypt amid widespread protests

[JURIST] More than 1,000 protesters have been detained in Egypt as demonstrations against the 30-year reign of President Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile] entered their third day on Thursday. Protests were held Thursday in Egypt's capital Cairo, as well as the city of Suez, and are reportedly spreading across the country [RFE/RL report]. In Suez, police resorted the use of rubber-coated bullets, water cannons and teargas, after protesters burnt down a police post [Al Jazeera report]. On Tuesday, Egypt's Ministry of Interior announced it would no longer tolerate the protests [BBC report], which have resulted in several deaths. Meanwhile, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei [Nobel profile] has expressed his willingness to lead a transitional government [BBC report]. Elbaradei, who previously led the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [offical website], said he was planning to return to Egypt [Bloomberg report] on Thursday to join the protests.

According to some commentators, the unrest in Egypt is modeled after recent civil unrest in Tunisia that culminated with the resignation [JURIST report] of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali this month. The Tunisian Constitutional Council, the country's highest legal authority on constitutional issues, declared that the leader of the lower house of parliament, Foued Mebezza, will assume power [AFP report] until elections are held in two months. Controversy marred parliamentary elections that were held in Egypt this past November, as violence accompanied accusations of corruption [JURIST report], fraud and silencing the opposition. Reports surfaced [AP report] of vote buying and the ejection of independent vote monitors from polling locations.

 

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