JERUSALEM (JTA) — As protests in Egypt entered a third day, demonstrators in Yemen reportedly inspired by the unrest there and earlier in Tunisia took to the streets to demand a new government.
In Egypt, at least five people — four demonstrators and one policeman — have been killed and more than 800 arrested in anti-government rallies that have called for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for 30 years. Forty protesters were charged Thursday with attempting to overthrow the government, according to reports.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry advised Israelis in the country to stay away from the demonstrations. The ministry also said it would follow the events closely, following the recommendations of the Israeli Counter-Terrorism Bureau, and would "obey the Egyptian authorities on these matters."
Rioters and police clashed Wednesday night in Cairo and Suez. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition shot in the air to disband protesters.
The protests in both Egypt and Yemen reportedly were inspired by the popular uprising in nearby Tunisia, which led to the resignation of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled the country.
In Yemen, thousands of demonstrators gathered Thursday in Sanaa at the city’s university and downtown following several days of smaller protests by students and opposition groups calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdallah Saleh .
Among the Egyptian protesters’ demands are an end to a long-standing state of emergency, a rise in minimum wages and the resignation of the interior minister. They expressed anger at the rising cost of living and the government’s failed economic policies, as well as government corruption.
Mubarak assumed the presidency in 1981 when Islamist assassins killed President Anwar Sadat. He was serving as vice president.
"We urge the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications, including on social media sites," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters Wednesday.
"We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," she said.