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14 April 2024

First-timers join mass protest in Cairo square

Thousands of Egyptian anti-Mubarak protesters shout slogans as they take part in a demonstration at Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

By Reuters

Thousands of protesters including first-timers gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square from early on Tuesday and numbers built quickly as demonstrations meant to force out President Hosni Mubarak entered their third week.

Many had camped out overnight in what has become a tented village in the heart of the Egyptian capital, with people selling food, drink, newspapers and Egyptian flags that were being waved aloft in the festival atmosphere.

Some joined the protest for the first time, saying they had been inspired in part by the release of Google executive Wael Ghonim after what he said was two weeks of detention by state security authorities.

"I came here for the first time today because this cabinet is a failure, Mubarak is still meeting the same ugly faces ... he can't believe it is over. He is a very stubborn man," said Afaf Naged, 71, a former member of the board of directors of the state-owned National Bank of Egypt.

"I am also here because of Wael Ghonim. He was right when he said that the NDP is finished. There is no party left, but they don't want to admit it," she said, of Egypt's ruling party.

Amr Fatouh, 25, a surgeon, said it was his first time protesting at the square because of his hospital duties.

"I hope people will continue and more people will come. At first, people didn't believe the regime would fall but that is changing," he said.