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WOW ! This is a huge protest... look at the pics in the link. 30 thousand demonstrating. Middle East is falling apart.

Egyptian police clashed with anti-government demonstrators as thousands took to the streets demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak's decades-old rule.

Officials say three people have died in the unrest. Two protesters were killed during a demonstration in Suez while a police officer in Cairo died from his injuries.

In Cairo, police fired tear gas and used water cannons Tuesday on rock-throwing demonstrators. At one point, demonstrators climbed on top of an armored police vehicle. Another protest erupted in Alexandria, where demonstrators shouted anti-Mubarak slogans.

The protests - reported by foreign media to be Egypt's largest in years - began peacefully.

Egyptians have been calling for political and economic reforms in protests inspired by demonstrations in Tunisia that led to the ouster of that country's president this month. The rallies are taking place despite government warnings that demonstrators could be arrested.

The rallies were promoted online by groups that say they speak for young Egyptians frustrated with the kind of poverty and oppression that triggered Tunisia's unrest.

Activists from Egypt's Kifaya (Enough) movement - a coalition of government opponents - and the 6th of April Youth Movement organized the protests on the Facebook andTwitter social networking websites. Western news reports said Twitter appeared to be blocked in Egypt later Tuesday.

Legal parties, such as the liberal Wafd, as well as the banned Muslim Brotherhood - Egypt's largest and best organized opposition group - have not formally endorsed the demonstrations, but said some of their members would take part.

Emergency laws in place since 1981 outlaw demonstrations without prior permission. Opposition groups say they have been denied such permits, and Egyptian security forces have a track record of dealing violently with protesters.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Washington supports the "fundamental right of expression and assembly," but she urged Egyptians to refrain from violence.

The rallies were planned to coincide with a national holiday honoring the police, a key force in keeping President Mubarak in power for nearly 30 years.

Since Tunisia's anti-government protests, at least five Egyptians have attempted suicide by self-immolation, imitating the young Tunisian whose burning death in December first galvanized protesters there.

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If civil unrest happens in Egypt, that will probably end badly for us. Civil unrest in Muslim countries is likely to end up with fundamentalists in power as opposed to those seeking democracy. I think Iraq has shown that, while a dictatorship is bad for it's citizens, it is more stable as a world player than fundamentalist theocracies.
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