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  • Egyptian protests

    • will Elbaradei take the reins as Egypt's interim leader?
    • will Mubarak step down and cede power peacefully?

    Egypt protests: ElBaradei tells crowd 'change coming'

    Leading Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei has joined thousands of protesters in Cairo defying a curfew to demand President Mubarak stand down.

    Addressing the crowd in Tahrir (Liberation) Square, the Nobel peace prize winner urged patience, saying "change is coming".

    In a tense sixth day of protests, the army sent tanks into the square only to see them blocked by demonstrators.

    Air force jets and a helicopter repeatedly flew low over the square.

    "You have taken back your rights and what we have begun cannot go back," Mr ElBaradei told the crowd.

    "I bow to the people of Egypt in respect. I ask of you patience, change is coming in the next few days."

    Mr ElBaradei has been asked by opposition groups to negotiate with the authorities on forming a national unity government.

    However, the BBC's Jim Muir in Cairo said the former UN official did not attract the attention of the whole crowd, which contained other political factions.

    Embattled President Hosni Mubarak earlier met top commanders during a visit to a military headquarters.

    Over the weekend, US President Barack Obama made a number of calls to foreign leaders to discuss the situation in Egypt, the White House said.

    A statement said Mr Obama had spoken to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and British Prime Minister David Cameron. He asked them for their assessment of the situation and agreed to stay in close contact, it said.

    Mr Cameron's office said he and Mr Obama were "united in their view that Egypt now needed a comprehensive process of political reform".

    Echoing an earlier US statement, a spokesman for Mr Cameron said the two leaders wanted to see an "orderly, Egyptian-led transition" leading to a democratic future for Egypt.

    Mr ElBaradei, however, has said Washington is losing credibility by talking of democracy while still supporting a president viewed by Egyptians as oppressive.

    The BBC's Jeremy Bowen, in Tahrir Square, said the arrival of a column of tanks and the sound of jets roaring overhead significantly raised the tension among the crowds.

    In Cairo on Sunday, there was no sign of the riot police with whom protesters have clashed violently in recent days, although state television said they were being ordered back on to the streets.

    Late Sunday night, state television also reported that the 1600 (1400 GMT) curfew - which has been widely ignored - would be extended in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez to run from 1500 to 0800.

    Clashes are reported to have left at least 100 people dead since rallies began on Tuesday in cities including Cairo, Suez and Alexandria. Thousands more have been injured.

    Although Sunday is the start of the working week in the Middle East, many businesses in Cairo remained closed and internet access is still intermittent.

    In Alexandria, in the north, the BBC's John Simpson said more protests were being held there and the army was out in force.

    In the capital, citizens have formed armed groups to protect their property from looters.

    Across the country, thousands of prisoners are reported to have escaped from jails after overpowering their guards.

    They are said to include senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood - the largest opposition group in Egypt.

    On Sunday, a number of Egyptian political movements issued a joint statement calling on Mr ElBaradei to form a transitional government. The Muslim Brotherhood is also reported to have asked him to negotiate with Mr Mubarak's regime.

    Mr ElBaradei, a former head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, is a leading advocate for political reform and a likely challenger for Egypt's presidency.

    Correspondents say that although he has become a leading figurehead of the opposition, protesters have not yet called for him to be their leader.

    President Mubarak, in an attempt to regain control, has appointed a vice-president - intelligence chief Omar Suleiman. Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq has been appointed prime minister.

    The US embassy in Cairo said on Sunday it would begin flying Americans out of Egypt on Monday.

    It had earlier advised US citizens in Egypt to consider leaving as soon as possible.

    The UK is advising its nationals in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez to leave if it is safe for them to do so.

    A number of other European countries have also advised against visiting the country.

    The unrest in Egypt follows the uprising in Tunisia which ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two weeks ago after 23 years in power.

    The Tunisian turmoil began with anger over rising food prices, high unemployment and anger at official corruption - problems which have also angered many people in Egypt.
    Source: BBC News
    BBC News - Egypt protests: ElBaradei tells crowd 'change coming'
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

  • #2
    Egypt protesters defy curfew

    I would pose additional questions... but they've already been asked elsewhere.

    Looks like Mubarak's grip is slipping rapidly.
    Egypt standoff continues as protesters defy curfew

    Police have been ordered back on to the streets of Cairo and the curfew has been extended, as Egypt's president tries to re-assert control.

    But anti-government demonstrators remained camped out in central Cairo overnight and they have called for a general strike on Monday.

    Protesters want President Hosni Mubarak to step down after 30 years in power.

    The president has ordered his new Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to push through political reforms.

    Egyptian state television read out a letter he had sent to Mr Shafiq, in which the president speaks of the need to make progress towards constitutional and legislative reform through a dialogue with political parties.

    He also calls for economic policies that give the highest concern to people's suffering and bring down unemployment by creating new jobs.

    Correspondents say all the signs continue to suggest that the only change the protesters will settle for is Mr Mubarak's removal from office.

    'Protest of millions'

    As demonstrations enter their seventh day, there are already plans for a "protest of the millions" march on Tuesday.

    On Sunday, most of the crowd in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square were unfazed by low-flying visits from air force jets and a helicopter.

    "Change is coming" promised the leading Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei when he addressed the crowds.

    Thousands rallied in Alexandria and there were also sizeable demonstrations in Mansoura, Damanhour and Suez.

    Police were noticeable by their absence so the protests were not marked by the sort of clashes which have left at least 100 people dead since rallies began on Tuesday.

    But with continued reports of looting, the Interior Minister Habib al-Adly announced on Sunday that police would be back on the streets to restore order.
    Economic impact

    The unrest is having an impact on the Egyptian economy, beyond the closure of shops and businesses and the call for a general strike.

    On Monday, New Zealand joined a growing list of countries warning their nationals not to travel to Egypt if they can avoid it and the US, Japan and China are among states preparing to evacuate their citizens.

    Tourism is a vital sector in the Egyptian economy, accounting for about 5 to 6% of GDP.

    Meanwhile, Japanese car maker Nissan has announced that it is halting production at its Egypt plant for a week, and it has urged non-Egyptian employees to leave the country.

    Global markets are also likely to react. The Nikkei fell in early trading in Tokyo as the Egyptian unrest prompted investors to shun riskier assets.

    'Orderly transition'

    'Orderly transition'
    Anti-government protesters walk past wall graffiti reading "Antique dictator 4 sale", Cairo, Egypt, 30 January 2011 A slogan on a Cairo wall shows a humorous side to the protest movement

    International pressure is growing for some kind of resolution.

    In the strongest language yet, both US President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked about the need for an "orderly transition" to a democratic future for Egypt.

    The White House says US President Barack Obama made a number of calls about the situation over the weekend to foreign leaders including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

    The protests in Egypt are top of the agenda of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

    China, meanwhile, has called for a return to order.

    "Egypt is a friend of China's, and we hope social stability and order will return to Egypt as soon as possible," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

    The unrest in Egypt follows the uprising in Tunisia which ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two weeks ago after 23 years in power.
    Source: BBC News
    BBC News - Egypt standoff continues as protesters defy curfew
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


    • #3
      Egypt braces for massive protest

      Maybe the last wave before Mubarak is washed from shore?
      Egypt braces for massive protest

      A massive demonstration is due to be held in Cairo as protesters step up their efforts to force President Hosni Mubarak from power.

      Organisers say they hope one million will come onto the streets in what is expected to be the biggest show yet. A rally is also planned in Alexandria.

      Egypt's powerful army has vowed it will not use force against the protesters.

      Meanwhile, new Vice President Omar Suleiman says he will hold cross-party talks on constitutional reform.

      Mr Mubarak reshuffled his cabinet on Monday to try to head off the protests, replacing the widely despised Interior Minister Habib al-Adly.

      But correspondents say that the army's statement has been a major blow for President Mubarak, and appears to have encouraged protesters.

      The feeling that change is coming in Egypt is getting stronger, says the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen in Cairo. Too much has happened too quickly to go back to the way things were before, he says.

      At least 100 people have been killed across the country since protests began a week ago following an internet campaign and partly inspired by the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia last month.

      Egypt has since cut off internet in the country and text messaging services have been disrupted.

      Google announced late on Monday that it was operating a special service to allow people in Egypt to send Twitter messages by dialling a phone number and leaving a voicemail.
      'Overwhelming atmosphere'

      Some protesters defied the curfew and continued to camp out in Tahrir Square through the night, saying they would stay there until Mr Mubarak's 30-year-long rule ends.

      One demonstrator, Tarek Shalabi, told the BBC that groups were camped out in tents or sleeping out in the square, and described the atmosphere as "overwhelming".

      "We're here because we want to make a statement. We're not going until Mubarak steps down," he said.

      He said a stage had been set up where people could go up and make speeches, read out poetry or sing or chant political slogans. "It has a festive feel to it," said Mr Shalabi.

      "We all have one thing in common. We all hate the current regime," he said.

      Another demonstrator, 45-year-old lawyer Ahmed Helmi, said: "The only thing we will accept from him is that he gets on a plane and leaves".

      On Monday, the Egyptian army said it respected the "legitimate rights of the people".

      In its statement, carried on Egyptian media, the military said: "To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people... have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people."

      Our correspondent says the announcement is absolutely critical because it takes away a huge measure of uncertainty from the mind of any potential demonstrator.

      Whatever happens next, this will change the Middle East, our correspondent adds.

      In his statement, Mr Suleiman said the president had ordered new government policy to be outlined "in the next few days".

      The review would include "clear and definite policies" to tackle unemployment, poverty, corruption and the cost of living, the statement said.

      There would also be new elections in some districts where there was evidence of irregularities in last November's parliamentary poll.

      Meanwhile, the US state department has despatched a special envoy to Cairo, former ambassador to Egypt Frank Wisner.

      Concerns have also grown about the economy, as global oil prices on Monday topped $100 (62) a barrel amid fears of the ongoing unrest.
      Source: BBC News
      BBC News - Egypt protesters to hold massive Cairo demonstration
      "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."


      • #4
        Mubarak has just announced that he won't stand in September's Presidential election & that he didn't plan to. He has stated that he plans to stay on until then. Desperate face saving stuff. He is gone. The army has obviously deserted him already & its hard to imagine any significant group risking its safety & future for yesterday's man. I suspect that the Army is trying to work out succession arrangements as we speak - perhaps with a civillian face. They will let the protests run for the moment, but a point will come where the chaos starts to be seen as a threat to the nation, not just Mubarak. I really can't see Mubarak holding on for long now.

        Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C


        • #5
          They have a plan. You know, I don't think Mubarak is being "deserted" by the military or his political allies. IMO, consensus among the people is what matters, and when the current leader loses it (been awhile now), no part of the government should consider it an abandonment to advocate his replacement.
          Last edited by JAD_333; 01 Feb 11,, 22:37.
          To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato