Egyptian Police Stand Down, Army Joins Protest

Chaos reigns in streets of Cairo
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2011 1:59 PM CST
Egyptian Police Stand Down, Army Joins Protest
Egyptian anti-government protesters carry on their shoulders an Egyptian army officer who joined them in their protest in Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Protesters in Cairo once again defied curfew today, but this time the police largely stood by and let them do it, the LA Times reports. The military meanwhile seems to have switched sides; as protesters swarmed over Cairo’s central square, the officers stationed there threw off their helmets and joined them, crying, “The army and the people are one—hand in hand,” according to Haaretz. Protesters hoisted the officers on their shoulders in triumph.

While the mood on the streets was generally joyous, some residents and businesses complained of looting. Some even theorized that the government was intentionally trying to foster anarchy. “The government is trying to transform the people’s revolution into looting mobs so they can justify cracking down,” said one professor. President Mubarak still has allies; Saudi Arabia today condemned the protests, with King Abdullah calling the ring-leaders “infiltrators” who were trying to destabilize the country, the Wall Street Journal reports. (More Egypt stories.)

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