Cairo, Jan 26 (Agencies): The Tunisia bug seems to have bitten Egypt as thousands of Egyptian protesters took to streets to demand an end to the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak and clashed with riot security forces, as unprecedented anti-government rallies nationwide claimed three lives.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to clear protesters from a central Cairo square, where the demonstrators chanted "Down with Hosni Mubarak, down with the tyrant," "We don't want you!".

Egyptian security forces resorted to excessive force to disperse the demonstrations on "Day of Rage" last evening, media reports said. The protesters, who hurled stones at security forces, were supposed to continue their rallies until the change was achieved.

At 1 am Cairo local time (0430 IST today) security forces used all their tools to disperse the crowds: Rubber bullets and tear gas. They also attempted to run over protesters by
armoured vehicles, stone them and beat them with batons, the reports said.

Three people -- two protesters and a police officer -- died in the protests nationwide, they said. At some places, witnesses said the protesters called on the security forces that "We are your brethren, don't beat us" and insisted that the demonstration would not turn violent, chanting "peaceful, peaceful". However, the troops went ahead with the extensive effort to disperse the crowd, they alleged.

As a result many protesters fainted and several were wounded. Many journalists were also detained in the Tahrir square in Cairo to gag the reporting.

The social networking website "Twitter" was blocked and a gag was placed on mobile networks in order to inhibit communications.

The Ministry of the Interior issued a statement on the events, saying one officer was killed and over 100 security personnel were injured. It did not mention the death of the two protesters.

The statement also said the number of protesters, who were inspired by the Tunisia uprising that forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee to saudi Arabia, was much less than stated by satellite stations and warned against any further attempts for protests.

President's son, family flee to UK

President Mubarak's son, who is considered as his successor has fled to Britain, along with his family, US-based Arabic website Akhbar al-Arab reported.

The plane with Gamal Mubarak, his wife and daughter on board left for London on Tuesday from an airport in western Cairo, the website said.