Police clashed with hundreds in the southern governorate of Fayyum, as well as in Mansura and Zagazig in the delta region, and fired tear gas to disperse the crowds, the Muslim Brotherhood said.

It said security forces arrested about 100 protesters in Fayyum and another 100 in Zagazig in a day of coordinated rallies up and down the country it organised to press for political reforms.

Other demonstrations

The Brotherhood also reported demonstrations in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, Tanta, Mansura and Damanhur in the delta region and in the capital, Cairo. 

"No to cosmetic reforms, yes to real reforms"

Protesters chant

Interior ministry sources offer conflicting figures for the arrests, saying police detained 80 protesters in Mansura, 100 in Zagazig and 30 in Fayyum.

"No to dictatorship," a group of an estimated 1,000 protesters chanted outside the Fatteh Mosque in central Cairo.

"No to cosmetic reforms, yes to real reforms," they shouted, as thousands of baton-wielding and shield-carrying security forces sealed off the area to prevent any outlets for trouble.

Protesters demands

The protesters also denounced the state-owned media as "corrupt" and chanted slogans calling for the abrogation of emergency laws that have been in place since the 1981 assassination of president Anwar Sadat.

"Islam is the solution," read banners carried by the protesters, repeating the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Demonstrators have in recent weeks escalated the campaign for constitutional and political reforms in the country, with many calling on the President Hosni Mubarak to step down when his mandate expires later this year.

Expected announcement

Mubarak is expected to announce
he is seeking a 6th term in office 
The president has not yet announced whether he intends to seek another term.

Earlier this year, he announced that rival candidates would for the first time be able to stand in a presidential election due next September.

Previously, voters were only given the opportunity to accept or reject a single candidate nominated by parliament, which is
overwhelmingly dominated by Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party.