Hosni Mubarak, that is, must go. Protesters in Egypt and the government’s main opposition leaders continue to call for the “President” to resign. News wire Reuters has two great stories explaining the situation on Egypt.
First, the protesters:
At least one million people rallied across Egypt on Tuesday clamoring for President Hosni Mubarak to give up power, piling pressure on a leader who has towered over Middle East politics for 30 years to make way for a new era of democracy in the Arab nation.
Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square was jammed with people ranging from lawyers and doctors to students and jobless poor, the crowd spilling into surrounding streets.
Crowds also demonstrated in Alexandria, Suez and in the Nile Delta in the eighth and biggest day of protests against Mubarak by people fed up with years of repression, corruption and economic hardship.
“He goes, we are not going,” chanted a crowd of men, women and children as a military helicopter hovered over the sea of people in the square, many waving Egyptian flags and banners.
With the army refusing to take action against the people and support from long-time backer the United States fading, the 82-year-old strongman’s days seemed numbered.
His downfall after three decades could reconfigure the geopolitical map of the Middle East, with implications from Israel to oil-giant Saudi Arabia. Unrest is already stirring in other Arab countries such as Jordan and Yemen.
And the opposition:
A coalition of opposition groups have told Egypt’s government that they would only begin talks with the military on a transition to democracy once President Hosni Mubarak stands down, opposition leaders said.
Massive protests over the past week have shaken Mubarak’s 30-year grip on power, forcing him to appoint a deputy and new cabinet. But protesters, emboldened by an army vow not to use force against them, say they will continue until Mubarak quits. “Our first demand is that Mubarak goes. Only after that can dialogue start with the military establishment on the details of a peaceful transition of power,” said Mohammed al-Beltagi, a former member of parliament from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Beltagi said the opposition was operating under an umbrella group, the National Committee for Following up the People’s Demands, which includes the Brotherhood, the National Association for Change headed by Mohamed ElBaradei, political parties and prominent figures including Coptic Christians.
Beltagi’s comments were echoed by ElBaradei and another opposition official.
“There can be dialogue but it has to come after the demands of the people are met and the first of those is that President Mubarak leaves,” ElBaradei told Al Arabiya television, saying the dialogue would involve transitional power arrangements.
“I hope to see Egypt peaceful and that’s going to require as a first step the departure of President Mubarak. If President Mubarak leaves, then everything will progress correctly.”
Mubarak has used the Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group, to present himself as a bastion against Islamism. He accused Islamists this week of subverting the protests, which include Egyptians from all walks of life, to provoke disorder and looting.
Looks like Mubarak will be leaving office soon.
If you are tired of hearing about Egypt, or just need a break from all this foreign affairs stuff, make sure you listen to my KaibCast for tonight, which starts at 6 PM Eastern. I prerecorded the show, and if the technology gods favor me, then you’ll be able to hear my thirty-minute discussion about the debt ceiling.
Here’s the link for tonight’s show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/joshkaib/2011/02/01/tuesdays-kaibcast-2111