Egyptians gather for mass march

2011-02-01 09:49
Cairo - Crowds gathered in central Cairo on Tuesday for a protest they hoped would swell to a million people demanding an end to the 30-year-rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak's newly appointed vice-president, intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, began talks with opposition figures on Monday and promised reforms. The army also promised to hold its fire and declared the protesters demands legitimate.

But protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, who kept vigil through the night in defiance of a curfew, vowed to continue their campaign until the 82-year-old Mubarak quit.

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

By about 06:00 GMT, three hours before the lifting of the curfew, their numbers had swelled to about 3 000 and more people were converging on the square, witnesses said.

Already political analysts were talking not about whether Mubarak would step down, but when and how.

"The succession is already underway," said Steven Cook at the Council on Foreign Relations on the CFR website.

Free elections

"The important thing now is to manage Mubarak's exit, which must be as graceful as possible at this point. For honour's sake, the brass won't have it any other way."

The military, which has run Egypt since it toppled the monarchy in 1952, will be the key player in deciding who replaces him and some expect it to retain significant power while introducing enough reforms to defuse the protests.

"At this point Suleiman represents the army, not Mubarak," said Fawaz Gerges at the London School of Economics.

"Mubarak has become a liability for the institution of the army," said. "And so it is becoming more difficult by the day for Mubarak to remain in office."

The United States and other Western powers have demanded Mubarak hold free elections. Even if he holds out against calls for his resignation, it seems unlikely he could win a vote.

Washington also said Mubarak must revoke the emergency law under which he has ruled since 1981. It has sent a special envoy, former ambassador to Cairo Frank Wisner, to meet Egyptian leaders. "The way Egypt looks and operates must change," said Robert Gibbs, spokesman for President Barack Obama.

Muslim Brotherhood

Protesters, inspired in part by a revolt in Tunisia which toppled its president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on January 14, have demanded an end to political oppression.

But years of repression have left few obvious civilian leaders able to fill any gap left by Mubarak.

Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has offered to act as a transitional leader to prepare Egypt for democratic elections. Many Egyptians, however, have said they had reservations about a man who has spent much of his recent career outside the country.

Among the more organised in the opposition is the hitherto banned Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood, which says it supports a pluralist democracy, began with a cautious approach to joining the protests led by the young and urban professional classes. The group has borne the brunt of Mubarak's repressive rule.

But it is now raising its profile, seeking to tie up with ElBaradei. It said on Monday it was calling for protests until the whole establishment departed - "including the president, his party, his ministers and his parliament".


Read more on:    hosni mubarak  |  egypt  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

In bound Supervisor

Western Cape
Peoplefinder Career Placements

Engineering Manager

Western Cape
Pro-Tech Recruitment
R850 000 - R1 100 000 Per Year

Analyst Developer

Western Cape
Progressive IT Resourcing (Pty) Ltd

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is hard to keep some sort of balance when the natural rhythm has flown out the window. The best thing to do is try not to keep...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.