10 Feb 2011

Egypt protests spread to Parliament

12:17 pm on 10 February 2011

Thousands of protestors demanding the immediate resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have taken their protests beyond Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Crowds have besieged nearby government buildings including Parliament and the Cabinet office.

The pro-democracy demonstrators have blocked access to Parliament and soldiers are guarding the building.

Reports say the protest has been peaceful but the marchers swear they will not leave until Parliament is dissolved.

The protests have turned violent in several areas; at least three people died and about 100 were injured when police opened fire in a town 400 kilometres west of Cairo.

The violence in the western province of New Valley is the first serious clash since security forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protestors 10 days ago.

The pro-democracy action to try to oust the President is in its third week.

There are reports of strikes and industrial unrest around the country.

Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman has warned of the risk of a coup d'etat if constitutional reform efforts fail.

Meanwhile the Egyptian government has hit back at what it calls United States attempts to impose American will on a loyal Middle East ally.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit says rapid reforms would be too risky.

US vice-president Joe Biden has urged an immediate end to the emergency law that Mr Mubarak has long used to curb opposition.

White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs says Washington is waiting for "real, concrete" moves to speed up the political transition.