Thousands of people remain on the streets of towns and cities in Egypt after a day of huge demonstrations calling for the downfall of the dictator Hosni Mubarak and his regime.
The protests are the biggest in Egypt since the 1940s, and are a new stage in the struggle—inspired by the successful uprising in Tunisia which toppled dictator Ben Ali.
Earlier today 40,000 demonstrators in the town of Mansoura stormed the ruling party headquarters. Across the country these offices, and numerous police stations, have been set alight.
The protests were supported by the Muslim Brotherhood, and many joined the protests after attending Friday prayers.
Protesters have defied the police for hours, battling against water cannon, tear gas and rubber and live bullets.
There are reports of protesters “arresting” police in Alexandria, and taking their weapons and shields to use on behalf of the protesters.
Images have also shown small numbers of police joining the protests and being carried on the shoulders of demonstrators.
Mubarak has announced a national curfew for 6pm local time (4pm GMT). So far the protesters have defied the curfew, and police personnel carriers have been set ablaze in Cairo.
Police have failed to disperse the protesters throughout the day. In Alexandria and Suez police ran from the streets as the protesters broke their hold.
The regime is brutal and is attempting to hold onto power with great force. Questions remain as to whether the army will fire on the protesters and attack the demonstrations as the government calls on them to reinforce the police in Cairo.
Running battles between police and protesters continue across the capital and the ruling party headquarters has thick black smoke billowing from it.
Meanwhile thousands have protested in Jordan and Yemen in solidarity with the movements in Tunisia and Egypt, and calling for an end to their own oppressive regimes.
Siân Ruddick, Socialist Worker UK