Thursday, 3 February 2011

Protesters Prove Relentless after Mubarak Dashed their Hopes

Batoul Wehbe

02/02/2011 At the time millions of Egyptian demonstrators were waiting for President Hosni Mubarak’s “important announcement”, the beleaguered president vowed he won’t leave the presidency until his term ends brushing aside a weeklong protests asking him to leave.

Mubarak, whose announcement dashed the hopes of the Egyptians who yesterday looked forward to the post-Mubarak phase, refuses to follow in the footsteps of his Tunisian counterpart Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and become an “ousted president” in the history of the Cradle of Civilizations “Egypt”. He resorted to his seemingly last maneuver after a consequence of pledges for changes and reforms.

“This is my country. This is where I lived, I fought and defended its land, sovereignty and interests, and I will die on its soil,” Mubarak said promising that he would not run in the election scheduled to be held in September in a trick to absorb the anger of the demonstrators.


No sooner had he finished his speech, Egyptian opposition groups and figures dismissed the speech that fails to meet the demands of the popular revolution, the largest in the history of Egypt and the Arab world. They called the president's address deceptive and urged Mubarak to step down immediately.
The Muslim Brotherhood has dismissed Mubarak's speech, saying its members will continue to protest until the president resigns. The Muslim Brotherhood also announced that the group would not commence any negotiations with Mubarak still in power.

February 4 would be the “Friday of departure” for the president as the demonstrators announced that they would be gathering at his palace on Friday afternoon.

At Cairo’s Tahrir Square: they resumed their “Leave, leave, leave!” chant shortly after his speech, and added a few new slogans, like “we won't leave tomorrow, we won't leave Thursday ...”, “If you still have sense, Leave!” and “we are stubborn more than you.”

Mubarak gave the protesters at the beginning of his speech the right to peaceful demonstrations but his tone quickly turned accusatory, saying the protesters had been “taken advantage of” by people trying to “undermine the government”.


US envoy Frank Wisner, a former ambassador to Egypt, met Mubarak on Monday and reportedly told him not to extend his time in office. In remarks to the media at the White House on Tuesday evening, US president Barack Obama said he had spoken with Mubarak and told him that an orderly transition must be meaningful and peaceful, must begin now and must include opposition parties hinting that Mubarak’s offer to leave after September elections may not go far enough.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants political transition in Egypt "without delay", his office said Wednesday.

Also, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that political change in Egypt must begin immediately, adding his voice to international pressure on Mubarak.

EU called for Mubarak to act “as quickly as possible” on transition.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said he had watched developments in Cairo on television late into the night, and it appeared to him that Egyptian people would not be satisfied until plans for an early transition of power were announced “sooner rather than later”. "People expect Mubarak to take a much different step," said Erdogan.

Human Rights Watch has accused elements loyal to Mubarak of committing acts of violence and looting in an attempt to undermine the Egyptian revolution. The group has confirmed several cases where undercover police loyal to Mubarak instigated raids and hostility during demonstrations in the country.

The Egyptian army called for protesters to go home “to restore security and stability in the street,” a military spokesman said on state television. Internet services were at least partially restored in Cairo after a five-day cut.

Egypt's parliament has been suspended until the contested results of elections held in late 2010 are revised, state news agency MENA said Wednesday. The elections were marred by violence as well as accusations of widespread fraud and vote-rigging.

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