Egypt – Another Million-Strong Protest


Anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo yesterday have called for another ‘million strong protest’ in Tahrir Square today.

This call was made as the Egyptian government and opposition groups announced it had been agreed to release all those detained since the beginning of the protests, and the lifting of the emergency law.

The state-run MENA news agency announced that talks had begun between government officials and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Wafd party, and the Tagammu party.

However, the founder of the April 6th Youth Movement, Ahmed Salah, refused to participate in any talks until Mubarak and his regime goes.

He stressed: ‘We are saying peacefully to the government and this president, please get out.’

Meanwhile, the army had blocked off Tahrir Square after stepping up pressure overnight on the protesters, tightening a cordon around the area.

Mubarak’s government had aimed to get people back to work yesterday with banks and businesses set to reopen.

However, Egypt’s stock exchange will not reopen today as previously announced.

‘We want people to go back to work and to get paid, and life to get back to normal,’ Egyptian army commander Hassan al-Roweny said.

He was touring Tahrir Square to try to convince protesters to leave.

Speaking in Germany, US secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: ‘We’re going to wait and see how this develops, but we’ve been very clear about what we expect.’

President Obama spoke on Saturday to several foreign leaders and underscored the need for ‘an orderly, peaceful transition, beginning now,’ the White House said in a statement.

His envoy Frank Wisner said in Cairo, ‘Mubarak must stay in office’ to steer through the changes’.

• Four people died in clashes between protesters and police in the northwestern Tunisian town of Kef, local union officials and witnesses said on Saturday.

Several hundred demonstrators had been calling for the city’s police chief, Khaled Ghazouani, to be sacked for abuse of power, the government news agency TAP reported.

The situation degenerated when Ghazouani slapped a female protester and the crowd tried to rush the police station and set it ablaze.

Police opened fire, killing two demonstrators and seriously wounding three others. Two of those injured later died of their wounds.

A union official said Ghazouni had subsequently been arrested and the situation was calm late Saturday