Middle East

Egyptians 'under siege and in the dark'

Image caption Protests are continuing to escalate in Cairo and across Egypt

Protests are increasing in intensity across Egypt, as police clash with thousands of demonstrators in several cities demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Here, Egyptian readers describe the scene in Cairo, where police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds, who have responded by throwing stones.

Heba, from Cairo

"I live in a building that overlooks the city. There is a big crowd, and perhaps more than 1,000 people are marching.

I haven't seen any scenes of violence, but the police have used quite a bit of tear gas and I can see black smoke from behind the building where I live. I can also hear quite a lot of action.

I haven't been able to leave my home because of my elderly mother.

When the police started using the tear gas, fumes wafted into our flat, making my eyes water and burning my nose, making it difficult to breathe.

Everyone is chanting, and there's a mass chorus of people demanding change.

The most interesting aspect of the demonstration is the fact that all kinds of people are taking to the streets. People from different social classes and different backgrounds - this is a very rare moment in Egypt.

In the past, only the disaffected would consider protesting. Now everyone, even those with a vested interest in the regime, are out on the streets. I've never seen the likes of it before."

Yasmine Amin, Cairo

"I'm barricaded in my home, afraid to venture out.

The tear gas used by the police has reached our home.

Image caption Protesters have clashed with police since Tuesday

My family and I are choking back the fumes.

My friends who live near Tahrir Square say that the police have been completely overwhelmed by the mass demonstration and in some parts of the city have seen people break through.

The police crackdown has been very brutal.

I took part in the demonstrations on the first day but I had to retreat once the police started firing tear gas into the crowds.

There has been a media blackout. I'm relying on friends and family scattered around the city to supply me with the latest information.

Everyone here is anxious about the future. I have mixed emotions.

People are afraid, apprehensive, fed up with the current regime. But overall I'm extremely proud of my fellow Egyptians."

'Muna' (not her real name), Cairo

"I am close to the 6th October bridge, where hundreds of protesters have been clashing with police for the past couple of hours.

Police have been firing lots and lots of tear gas into the crowd to try to keep them from crossing and progressing onto Tahrir Square.

The crowd keeps dispersing into side streets, then coming back again, where they are met with more resistance and more tear gas rounds.

I have closed my windows completely, and my family and I are stuck inside.

I am worried for people on both sides as I look out - both the police and the protesters. I haven't seen any injuries so far but of course I don't know if it's going to get worse.

I am also worried for my friends who are out protesting on the streets.

I can't communicate with them because all mobiles are down. Thank God our landline still works but we are not sure for how long."

Malek, Cairo

"People in Egypt are under siege.

First, the Mubarak regime banned Facebook, Twitter and all other popular sites. Now the internet is completely blocked.

The government has also blocked three mobile phone networks.

And we are hearing that even the landlines will be cut to prevent any news agency from following what is happening.

We feel as if we are in a dark locked room without connection to the outside world."

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