Middle East

Egypt unrest: Views from around the country

Thousands of people in Egypt are taking part in a "day of departure" to try to oust President Hosni Mubarak.

An increased army presence is in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Elsewhere in Egypt, the situation has been volatile with reports of gunfire while other areas have been quiet.

People living outside of the capital have been speaking about their experiences since the day of the first protests, and their hopes for the future.

May El Tabbakh, Alexandria

There is a serious lack of security here. All the men on our street are armed to protect their homes. Neither my husband nor other men here have slept. Also, there are prisoners on the loose which is a big issue.

There are two theories for the lack of security: either the government has withdrawn forces or the police are afraid of the sabotage and looting.

So who do we have to protect us? The police have failed the people. My immediate wish is for security.

I have been locked-in at home for more than a week now. I've heard gunshots and struggles outside.

People have not been able to go out to work. The well-off are OK as they have stored food. But the poor are really suffering - they are starving.

I love my country but we have not been lucky with the system we have in place so far. We have many social problems.

People have been silenced for 30 years, and I praise and support the young for the protests for democracy on 25 January.

But I think people need to calm down so that we can establish a democratic society.

I am 32 years old and to me, Egypt is Mubarak. To have him replaced is a big step that needs to be taken.

I thank Mr Mubarak for making changes and for being positive in his response to what has been happening - this is an achievement.

But we need three or four months to think about this and who is the best person to represent me.

I want neither Mohamed ElBaradei nor the Muslim Brotherhood to be running the country. We need to take time to think about who will be our new leader.

My husband has been at one of the protests. But it is not just about going out on to the streets, but how mature you are in the way you respond to the changing situation.

Margaret, Giza

I haven't been out of my house since Monday. While the days are calm, at night it is scary with sounds of gunfire.

The men go out to protect the small family houses on my street. Everyone is taking responsibility and it has been wonderful, empowering, and very humbling.

The police are not normally around here - it is a quiet area. But when I went out on Monday, the army were around.

Local people mainly work in the tourist industry, mainly at the Pyramids. But the Pyramids and hotels have been shut, so the income of extended families has gone.

I'm sure it's OK to go out as everyone knows me here, but I am taking precautions. As a foreigner, I would only go out with Egyptian friends or call a taxi driver that I know.

At the beginning of the protests there was a demonstration in Pyramid Street but since then, it has been quiet - people have been keeping their heads down.

Foreigners don't get what it is like here - all they know is what life is like in Britain. Whenever I have friends to stay, I tell them, 'don't do this' and 'don't do that' because they don't understand that this is a police state.

Thugs are completely able to do what they want and the secret police are more like an army of control - I think most of the trouble stems from them.

I'm worried about the future. I'm sure things will be resolved, but how do you go about dismantling the underlying status quo in this country?

Despite it all, I'm staying here because my life is here.

Emad Kamel, Qena

People here in Qena are standing by Mr Mubarak - I support him. We like him and no one wants him to leave.

The media have just been focussing on Tahrir Square and not reporting on what is going on in other areas of Egypt.

The culture of Egyptians is not like in Tahrir. What you see in Tahrir is only one part of Egypt. Not everyone is there. There are 80 million people who are with Mr Mubarak.

I want people to know the true picture. There are no protests here. Life is normal here. I have been able to go out and go to work.

Mr Mubarak will not leave the country now because of what has been happening. He loves his people.

I'm happy with his leadership. But he is now 86 and if he wants to, he should go in September.

I worry that if the Muslim Brotherhood gets into power, there will be Islamic law in Egypt.

I'm a Christian and I think it would be bad if they run the country - we will all be in hell.

Anonymous, Sharm El Sheikh

We are so isolated here that I'm surprised to hear what has been going on elsewhere in Egypt.

I spoke to friends about the media reports and we're very confused.

The state media are saying that the protesters are causing the problems and everything will soon be sorted out - they are blaming journalists and foreigners, while Al-Jazeera are saying something quite different.

Today we managed to get food supplies - not much food was available last week.

The banks have been closed and we are regularly checking the ATMs. We've been told they may open on Sunday, but we'll see.

There has been no where near as many tourists as we are used to having. But there are a few holidaymakers around as I believe some tour operators are offering cheap deals.

Some workers can't go home to other parts of Egypt because there are no regional airlines operating - buses are infrequent as well.

Hotels are waiting for staff to replace others on rotation, but because of the transport problems, staff due to work haven't been able to get back.

Also, some staff are reluctant to work as they weren't paid on 1 February.

There is a huge gap between the haves and have nots. I feel sorry for the poor as some can't even afford to eat. It is time for change.

People feel they can talk more freely about things now because before the protests, they were scared to speak out.

But people are embarrassed about the world's perception of Egypt and they want things back to normal.

I think Mr Mubarak should step down right away to enable negotiations with the opposition and a quick transition of power.

Unless the security situation changes or there's a severe cut in food supplies, we feel pretty safe here. If I was living in Cairo then I would consider leaving.

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