30/01/11 18:56 CET
| updated xx mn ago
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With the disappearance of police on the streets, many Egyptians have had to fend for themselves amid reports of looting.
Residents have formed their own neighbourhood watch groups, to ensure that thieves and vandals do not take advantage of the unrest.
One man said: “We’re the ones protecting the country. The people we caught were a police officer and a soldier stealing from a jewellery shop. You can ask the military. Today at least five policemen were caught looting.”
Even the army sent out a message to the public to organise their own local protection groups.
A petrol station manager said: “The country is very close to collapse. There is no food and no drink. What shall we do now? People will starve if the riots and looting continue.”
A woman shopper said: “We haven’t felt safe for days. Where’s our security? Where’s our country’s government? It’s expected to protect the people. Where is it? The army can’t do everything. Plotters and looters are all around and you can work out what they’re up to. We haven’t slept for days.”
Police say they have arrested some 500 people across Cairo on charges of looting, arson and vandalism.
Euronews spoke to an Egyptian newspaper journalist covering the mass rally in Tahrir Square.
Mohamed El Dahshan, a journalist with the Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, said: “They have several banners which are saying the same thing, and a lot of people told me the same thing…that they are not going anywhere until he (Mubarak) leaves. The banners read: “We are not leaving before he does”.
“The people are hoping for something to happen within the next few days now. There is no going back, however these protests end. The momentum here is that people are shaking almost their hands … starting to say congratulations in one sense, while there are others saying we are just getting started.
“That is exactly how it feels. People are quite excited but they realise that the immediate demands of the end of the regime and the removal of Mubarak are really nothing but the beginning of rebuilding of an Egypt that we can all belong to.
“There is definitely this excitement but people realise that there is still a long way to go. Egypt will never be the same after these protests. Definitely.”
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