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Police beat some anti-government protesters in Egypt

President Mubarak has not said if he will run again

September 22, 2010 9:16 by

Police beat a handful of demonstrators with batons on Tuesday at a protest of about 200 Egyptians gathering against what they said were plans to hand power to the president’s son.

President Hosni Mubarak, 82, in power since 1981, has not said if he will run in the 2011 election. But persistent rumours about his health have helped fuel talk he could hand power to his politician son, Gamal, 46. Both deny any such plan.

Though small by international standards, protests have become more frequent with a parliamentary election in November and the presidential vote next year.

“No, no to succession. No to Mubarak, no to Gamal, no to Alaa,” the protesters shouted, naming the president’s two sons.

“Down, down with military rule,” they also chanted. Mubarak, like other presidents since the king was toppled in 1952, held a senior military post before becoming president.

Police in riot gear confronted the protesters near Abdeen Square in central Cairo, close to the former king’s palace.

The protest was organised by April 6 Youth Movement, Kefaya (Enough) and other groups who regularly arrange demonstrations.

Security forces are usually swift to contain protests and are often heavy handed, tending to limit protest numbers to no more than a few hundred.

Analysts say the opposition has yet to show it can rally mass protests in a country of 78 million to force change on a government that has huge security forces at hand. But protests are drawing unwelcome international attention, they have said.

The United States, an ally, criticised Egypt after police clashed with demonstrators in Cairo on April 6. Egypt said the remarks interfered in its domestic affairs. (Reporting by Marwa Awad, writing by Edmund Blair)

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