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Cairo protesters call for million-strong crowd

by Jorge Hernandez on February 1, 2011

As massive protesting in Egypt spilled into its eighth day, protesters called for a million-strong crowd, drawing increasingly more diverse members and raising the volume on the insistent cries for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Hundreds of thousands of people were gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where the army aided the community's relatively peaceful self-management. The crowd has seen markedly less violence since police left the scene, as army officials vowed not to use force. Instead, authorities are checking for identification and patting people down for weapons.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the initial demographic of mainly young men is now growing to include women, children, Islamic scholars, celebrities and foreigners.

"The whole system is rigged to support Mubarak and his cronies, and I'm speaking as one of the privileged 5 percent of the population. I want change. I've had enough," financial consultant Ahmed Farid told the news source.

Crowds came up with clever chants and hung effigies of Mubarak and his regime in the middle of Tahrir Square, mobilizing for an eventual march on his Presidential Palace.

Among the peaceful protesters, however, there are still elements of instability, as some members of the Mubarak's administration have been wielding weapons among the crowds.

Mubarak has appointed a new vice president, Omar Suleiman, but protesters said they would not accept any aspect of Mubarak or reforms to his continued rule, Reuters reports.

"There's a real sense of solidarity, people are really pulling together and they are united behind the cause – they want democracy," former BBC correspondent Sarah Loat told BBC.

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