Middle East

Egypt violence: Cairo reaction

All eyes are on Egypt as protesters and supporters of the incumbent President Mubarak continue to clash.

Mr Mubarak has said that he will serve out his current presidential term, which ends in September, but will not run for re-election.

BBC News website readers in Cairo have told us their reaction to the violence that is engulfing the city.

Benedict Higgins, 6th of October City, student

I'm a 23-year-old British student who lives in 6th of October City with my parents. I spent five days straight in Tahrir Square, protesting with the Egyptian people.

I'm studying Arabic at Cairo University and I'm worried about a lot of my friends who are still in the square but whom I can't get hold of. I eventually left yesterday (Wednesday) to get some supplies like food.

Image caption Tahrir Square has been the focal point of a great deal of violence

At first the atmosphere was one of joy and it was like being at a festival but things soon got worse. The Egyptians were extremely friendly to me when I turned up and treated me like family.

I think it is important to be involved. We all have responsibilities to demonstrate on the Egyptians' behalf. You shouldn't be afraid of your government. While we were in the square, many people had phone calls from friends in Alexandria saying that it was going to turn violent and Mubarak's men were coming.

A lot of violence is also taking place in the side streets near Tahrir Square. Many people involved haven't slept or had any proper food in days.

At one point, the undercover police tried to take me away because I was wearing an anti-Mubarak T-shirt. One woman tried to grab me and rip my shirt off - saying I should not be wearing it. Luckily a crowd came and we went to the army where I was able to convince them I was an innocent bystander.

As I was leaving the square on Wednesday, there were about 20 to 30 Pro-Mubarak supporters standing on the other side of the railing, on Merit Basha, hiding behind the army, screaming, literally screaming at us, that we are "all going to die later" and that they "are coming to kill us". They were also shouting vulgar and homophobic insults.

I live in a middle class area and the people on my compound are worried about what will happen if the government falls. There has been a lot of panic buying going on and the petrol stations and supermarkets are empty.

Ahmed Kamal, Cairo, lawyer

I am against those people who are sitting in Tahrir Square.

President Mubarak must stay in until the expiry of his term. The majority of people really do want him to stay until the authorities transfer his power to somebody else.

What is happening in Tahrir Square is completely unnecessary and people have not considered the long-term future of Egypt.

President Mubarak has given his guarantee that he will leave but the demonstrators asking him to leave - and in such a way - is an embarrassment for our country.

This will not result in peace for Egypt and could lead to external governments such as the US deciding to intervene.

I am not pro or anti President Mubarak. All I want is stability. I am a lawyer and I know that it will take time to change the constitution. People are not showing patience and this is to the detriment of the country.

When I ask people, 'why should Mubarak leave right now - what should happen next?', they cannot answer.

Everyone is forcing their opinions on to each other and that is not a civilised way to behave.

We can have an election in a democratic way - with the foreign and local media watching, then Mubarak cannot forge it. If he leaves straight away, there will be war.

People are afraid now and our life is changing. My sister is in hospital in a coma but yet the doctors cannot come to her because of the violence.

Wessam, Cairo, mother

I took part in the peaceful "extra-decent" demonstration on Tuesday this week.

I took my two children - aged 17 and 14 - with me to participate in an important event that is changing the history of Egypt.

We were very proud of what was happening there. Civilized people from all classes were present proudly, helping each other, feeding each other, cleaning the rubbish themselves and demanding simple rights that we have been denied for ages.

The violence only started after the pro-Mubarak supporters insisted on coming to Tahrir Square.

It is only because of fear of what could happen to my children that we haven't gone out again.

The president said he was going to go peacefully - if that's the case, why are there so many people dying now? Thousands are injured or have been detained or arrested.

There are people in their 20s who have lost their eyes. I would rather sacrifice one man - who has been in power for 30 years - than all these people.

He says he is the father of our people. What sort of father would do this?

The people who are spreading the worry to scare others with what they call "power vacuum" if Mubarak leaves now are not thinking straight.

He is 82 and he can drop dead by natural course at any moment - so would that be considered a "power vacuum?"

Of course not. Instead a replacement will be found immediately because he is not the one and only.

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