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More Clashes In Cairo As Protests Continue; Opposition May Be Splitting

Nov 23, 2011

It's Day 5 of the renewed protests in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt.

Protesters are pushing for the ruling military council to relinquish control sooner rather than later, and aren't satisfied with Tuesday's announcement that parliamentary elections will go ahead as planned next week and that a presidential election will be held before July of 2012 instead of later, as military chiefs had been suggesting. The protesters say the new regime is no better than the old regime (of President Hosni Mubarak) that was toppled earlier this year.

According to The Associated Press, the death toll from the past few days' worth of clashes with authorities is up to at least 38. A couple thousand people have reportedly been injured.

From Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells our Newscast Desk that there are signs of a split, however, in the anti-government opposition. "The military has cut a deal with many of the emerging political forces," including the Muslim Brotherhood, she says. And many of those groups have stayed away from Tahrir Square and the protests.

Those groups, "may now be [poised] to turn against the protesters," Soraya says. "That could create quite a problem if the opposition to the military is in fact fighting each other."

Soraya also reported for Morning Edition.

Other developments:

-- "The U.N. human rights chief has called for an independent probe into the killing of demonstrators by Egypt's military and security forces," al-Jazeera writes in its live-blog. "I urge the Egyptian authorities to end the clearly excessive use of force against protesters in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the country, including the apparent improper use of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition," said Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

-- Protesters, the BBC's Martin Chulov reports, are telling him that they "are back here now with a renewed momentum. People are saying this is going to be long, this is going to be more difficult, but we are going to stay the course. [The demands] seem to be shifting. The push for elections next week isn't really coming from the street. ... People are instead demanding a national salvation government. An interim movement of patriots who can take over ... as a board of custodians."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.