- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003

CAIRO, March 28 (UPI) — Hundreds of Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo Friday to protest against the U.S.-British war in Iraq, which they argued was an aggression targeting the Iraqi people.

The demonstrators departed from al Azhar mosque in the center of Cairo, brandishing anti-war placards and urging Arab countries to stop providing support or logistic facilities to the invading forces.

Among the protesters were Muslim extremists who called on Arab countries to open their borders to facilitate the transfer of Arab volunteers to fight on the Iraqis' side.

Unlike previous protests, Friday's demonstration was peaceful and remained unmarred by clashes.

Riot police surrounded the protesters as they marched to the seat of Sheikh al-Azhar, the highest Muslim authority in the country.

Egyptian police rounded up tens of activists, including opposition members of parliament, who took part in violent demonstrations in the past weeks. The detainees were accused of attacking public and private properties and setting fire brigade vehicles on fire.

Following last week's violent protests, the interior ministry warned against staging any demonstrations without getting prior official permission.

On Thursday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak declared that the government would not ban public protests but called for civilized expression of sentiments and warned against attacking public and private properties.


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