Egypt riots escalate: The riots raging on in Egypt have spread into several prisons in the country Saturday, as at last eight detainees were reportedly killed in a jail holding political prisoners.
Prison guards reportedly fired live ammunition and tear gas in the northern Egypt prison as detainees attempted to stage a mutiny at the site, which also holds Muslim Brotherhood prisoners. Security forces were reinforcing their presence at jails throughout the country as result of the violence there.
Masses hit streets in Egypt (Photo: AFP)
Hamas sources have reported that a few Palestinian detainees have escaped Egyptian prisons during the unrest, and are making their way to the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, medical sources in Egypt confirmed that the overall number of fatalities in the riots raging in Egypt since Tuesday has reached at least 82 people. Some 2,000 others were hurt in protests against President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.
Full-fledged chaos had been reported at several regions of Egypt, as the masses crowd public squares, and banks, government buildings, and businesses are being looted. In Cairo, some 1,000 protestors attempted to break into the Interior Ministry headquarters. Al-Jazeera reported that police forces were attempting to disperse the demonstrators using live fire. At least three people were shot and killed in the clashes, the network said.
Overall, tens of thousands of Egyptians are demonstrating in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, and according to some reports there is no security forces' presence on the streets. Elsewhere, reports are coming in about the torching of government buildings, police stations, and security headquarters nationwide.
Some people have exploited the ongoing riots to settle the score with Egyptian business figures. The al-Arabiya network reported a mass looting of businesses in the Suez area belonging to a prominent businessman, including a lynching at one of the sites. Just like in Tunisia, reports are coming in of "popular committees" set up to prevent attacks on businesses and homes. Overnight, attempts were made to loot the Egypt National Museum.
Cairo in flames (Photo: Reuters)
Authorities in Egypt have declared that a curfew will be imposed in the country from 4 pm today to 8 am Sunday morning, yet enforcing it in the current atmosphere of total chaos seems a largely impossible task.
Egypt's business sector is attempting to minimize the damage, with trading in Cairo's stock exchange suspended following the massive 10.5% drop Thursday. Local banks will not be operating Sunday for fear of looting, yet the country's Central Bank says that bank accounts are safe and that liquidity is not an issue.
According to a report by the Arab-language BBC Saturday afternoon, Egyptian army units were attempting to prevent protestors from breaking into the Central Bank in Cairo and looting it.