Sun, 30 Jan 2011 06:47:34 GMT

Chaos in Egypt, looting engulfs cities

Police vanish from streets as looters have a field day in cities across Egypt


Chaos in Egypt, looting engulfs cities

A protester shakes hands with an Army soldier on Saturday as armoured personnel carriers moved into Cairo to protect government buildings.

Cairo: Residents here boarded up homes and set up neighbourhood watches of citizens armed with guns, clubs and knives on Saturday as looting and violence engulfed the capital.

With the police having disappeared from the streets, the Army expanded its presence of tanks and armoured personnel carriers but mainly around government buildings. As dusk fell and the chaos continued, the military fanned out to neighbourhoods across the city in a bid to quell the lawlessness.

"The Army guards big institutions like the gardens and museum, not people and their property," said Mighaz Sawzi, who lives in central Cairo. "God has to protect us, because who's going to protect us now?"

Residents reported gangs of youths, some on motorbikes, roaming the streets, looting supermarkets, shopping malls and stores. Some of the gangs made it to affluent residential areas in the suburbs, breaking into luxury homes and apartments. The crackle of gunfire could be heard in the city centre as well as outlying districts.

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