Mubarak fires Cabinet, deploys troops, tanks

Written by Reuters | Cairo | Updated: Jan 30 2011, 05:49am hrs
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refused on Saturday to bow demands that he resign, after ordering troops and tanks into cities in an attempt to quell an explosion of street protest against his 30-year rule.

Mubarak dismissed his government and called for national dialogue to avert chaos following a day of battles between police and protesters angry over poverty and political repression. The unprecedented unrest has sent shock waves through the Middle East, and unsettled global financial markets on Friday. Shortly after midnight, the army took control of Cairos central Tahrir Square, which had been the focus for thousands of protesters trying to force their way to Parliament.

More than 20 military vehicles moved into the square, blanketing the area. Protesters, who had earlier been fired at with teargas and rubber bullets, fled into side streets leaving the square empty except for the military.

It is not by setting fire and by attacking private and public property that we achieve the aspirations of Egypt and its sons, but they will be achieved through dialogue, awareness and effort, said Mubarak, in his first public appearance, on state television, since unrest broke out four days ago.