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Dharamshala: At least three people have been killed in a rare anti-government protest in the Egyptian capital. The demonstrations, inspired by the recent revolt in Tunisia, drew thousands of people to the city centre as protesters in Tahrir Square vowed to camp out all night and made appeals on Facebook for food and blankets. Police forces moved in around 0100 local time and began using tear gas and water canons to disperse the crowds, who had pushed their way through to the parliament building, with reports of beatings occurring during the conflict. Eyewitnesses say demonstrators stormed the city chanting calls for the demission of President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled since 1981.

Reports have surfaced that many news and social networking websites had been blocked by Egyptian authorities, with one Swedish site accusing officials of trying to control the news agenda.

Riots also broke out in other cities with crowds in Alexandria shouting "Revolution, revolution, like a volcano, against Mubarak the coward." By dawn the protesters had been cleared, and cleaners were seen sweeping litter and debris from the streets.

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