x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Protesters set fire to governorate in Alexandria

Anger brewing since demonstrations began on Tuesday boiled over with a crowd of people shouting for President Hosni Mubarak to stand down as they flooded out of a central mosque.

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt // Protesters set fire to the governorate building in the centre of Alexandria yesterday.

Smoke billowed over the governorate in the northern port city as the building burned after clashes between police and protesters. Several protesters also broke into the compound of a police station in another central district.

Anger brewing since demonstrations began on Tuesday boiled over with a crowd of people shouting for President Hosni Mubarak to stand down as they flooded out of a central mosque.

"We don't want him," the chanted, as police used rubber bullets and fired tear gas to disperse the protesters who fled into side streets, regrouping later in several parts of Egypt's second-largest city.

Infuriated demonstrators overwhelmed police in several locations, taking over riot trucks and setting them on fire.

"This is the first time I have ever joined a demonstration," said Abdo, a glass fitter from Alexandria. "I can't get married, I can't buy an apartment. Everything is expensive and the wages are low."

Along the beach hundreds of angry young people marched down the corniche, shouting the protests' signature chant: "The people want the ouster of the regime."

Until Tuesday, most demonstrations in Egypt have been reserved for seasoned political activists.

"This is the first time I am attending a protest. I'm fed up. I'm sick of Hosni," said Osama Abdel Wadud, 31, who works in a petrol station.

"We are oppressed," said Aziza, whose face was covered in a black veil. "The youth have nowhere to go, nothing to do."

Others called for calm, urging protesters to keep it "Peaceful, peaceful..."

The streets were littered with rocks thrown by protesters in response to the firing of tear gas.

"We want our freedom," said Mustafa Sayed, 28, who earns 750 Egyptian pounds (Dh470) a month.

From the windows of seafront buildings, onlookers cheered on the demonstrators.

One hotel owner threw bottles of water down to the protesters, as clashes continued in the side streets in a game of cat and mouse between demonstrators and police.

* Agence France-Presse