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Violence in Egypt: Pro-Mubarak Thugs Attacking Protesters, Cracking Down on Journalists, Anderson Cooper Beaten

Update: The Times' Lede blog reports that pro-Mubarak demonstrators are "hunting down" journalists in Egypt:
"Protesters are hunting down Al Jazeera journos," wrote Abbas Al Lawati of Gulf News in Dubai. "I keep having to clarify that I'm not one of them.".... An Australian television reporter, Hamish Macdonald, wrote that a colleague had seen one reporter badly beaten, and that their crew is unable to leave its hotel....Update: Video just released by CNN  10:00 PM (video)
 Two reporters for The New York Times, David Kirkpatrick and Mona el-Naggar, said they had been cornered by pro-Mubarak demonstrators who tried to prevent them from reporting just as clashes began..... Ben Wedeman of CNN also reports via Twitter that he was "harassed." "Appears the pro-government 'demonstrators' have been given instructions to target press."

Among the journalists being targeted is CNN's Anderson Cooper, who was repeatedly punched in the head by pro-Mubarak thugs. His crew was also surrounded, punched and kicked by the mob, Cooper told CNN this morning.

Cooper reports that "automatic weapon fire has been heard and fires are burning near the Egyptian Museum, which would make it impossible for opposition protesters inside Tahrir Square to leave along that road."

Original post: After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's announcement yesterday that he would not step down but would also not seek re-election (or rather, "re-election") in September, the situation on the ground in Egypt has become increasingly violent. Mubarak supporters have come out in force and are clashing with anti-Mubarak protesters, who have now been out on the street, calling for the president's ouster for nine days.
The New York Times reports that calls from the Egyptian military to "restore normal life" have gone un-heeded today:
The mayhem and chaos — with riders on horses and camels thundering through the central square — offered a complete contrast to the scenes only 24 hours earlier when hundreds of thousands of antigovernment protesters turned it into a place of jubilant celebration, believing that they were close to overthrowing a leader who has survived longer than any other in modern Egypt....
 The two sides traded volleys of rocks, and engaged in hand-to-hand fighting. many were led or carried away with bleeding head wounds. Antigovernment protesters organized themselves into groups, smashing chunks of concrete into smaller projectiles to be hurled at their adversaries. The violence was the most serious since the antigovernment protesters laid claim to Tahrir, or Liberation, Square days ago as they pursued what seemed to be a largely peaceful campaign for Mr. Mubarak’s ouster.
Hours before the violence erupted in the square, antigovernment protesters had been chanting: “We are not going to go; we are not going to go.”
 In counterpoint, demonstrators supporting Mr. Mubarak chorused back: “He’s not going to go; he’s not going to go.”

Al Jazeera's gripping live blog from Egypt notes that "more than 100 people" were injured in just one hour "after suspected government supporters, including plain clothed policemen, entered Tahrir Square and attacked anti-Mubarak demonstrators." Gun shots are said to be ringing out, as reports come in of Mubarak supporters taking over army vehicles.

The network also reports that Internet service has finally been restored to the region after a week-long outage.

Check out the live blog for some pretty amazing photos from Cairo, Alexandria and Suez and watch Al Jazeera's incredible live coverage of the unrest here:

Update: CNN just released video of Anderson Cooper and his CNN crew getting attacked by what can only be described an unruly mob on the streets of Cairo as we’d reported earlier. Cooper told CNN hosts via the telephone “I would be an idiot if I wasn’t frightened.”

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