CAIRO -- Doctors in white lab coats and lawyers in black robes streamed into Cairo's Tahrir Square Thursday, linking striking workers with anti-government protesters to create powerful new momentum for calls to oust President Hosni Mubarak. With its efforts to manage the crisis failing, the government threatened the army could crack down by imposing martial law.
The protests in their 17th day, which have focused on discontent with Mubarak's 29-year monopoly on power, now have tapped into the even deeper well of anger over economic woes, including inflation, unemployment, corruption, low wages and wide economic disparities between rich and poor.
A crowd of 4,000 angry over lack of housing rioted in the Suez Canal city of Port Said on Thursday for a second straight day. They marched on the local state security headquarters, demanded those inside leave, then stormed the building, set fire to part of it and six police cars. Police did not intervene. A day earlier they torched the governor's home and offices.