Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, February 2011
Egyptian Revolution Continues Until Mubarak's Departure, Despite Sulaiman's Threat of Staging Military Coup
The Egyptian revolution has continued forcefully, day after day, through protests of millions of people all over the country. The Mubarak regime has been responsive to the demands of protests but without sacrificing its head, the dictator. However, protesters have insisted, so far, that they would not stop protests until Mubarak leaves.
The regime's strong man, Sulaiman, has insisted on protecting his boss by allowing him to stay in power until elections are held in September. He even threatened of staging a military coup if the protests do not stop.
So, the struggle of wills continues between the remnants of the dictatorial regime and the Egyptian people. However, it doesn't seem that the revolting people are going to be the ones who blink first.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says not to have presidential candidate
CAIRO, Feb. 9, 2011 (Xinhua)--
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest yet officially banned opposition bloc, said on Wednesday it won't have a presidential candidate.
The group said at a press conference held in Cairo that they want Egypt to be ruled by freedom and democracy.
Editor: Lu Hui
Protesters block access to parliament, reject reform offers
Several hundred Egyptian protesters attempted to block parliamentary buildings in Cairo on Wednesday as part of their campaign to oust President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-old regime, as they continued to call for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, rejecting the government's offers of constitutional reform.
The building was protected by troops backed by armoured vehicles, but
there was no violence, with protesters instead staging a sit-in to
blockade the lower house, just as others have occupied Cairo's Tahrir
"We came to prevent the NDP members from entering. We will stay until
our demands are met or we will die here," said 25-year-old Mohammed
Abdullah, as the crowd chanted anti-Mubarak slogans and waved Egyptian
Egyptian opposition defiant over VP's warning of staging a military coup
By MAGGIE MICHAEL Associated Press
Feb 9, 2011, 6:01 AM EST
CAIRO (AP) --
Egypt's protesters and opposition groups were infuriated Wednesday by a warning from Vice President Omar Suleiman that if their movement doesn't enter negotiations, a (military) "coup" could take place causing greater chaos, as a mass demonstration in a central Cairo square entered its 16th day.
Sulaiman's (also written Suleiman in French spelling) sharply worded warning cast a shadow over his efforts, backed by the United States, to put together negotiations with the opposition over democratic reforms. The protesters fear the regime will manipulate the talks and conduct only superficial reforms, so they insist they will only enter substantive negotiations after President Hosni Mubarak steps down.
Thousands of protesters chanting "we are not leaving until he leaves" camped overnight in downtown Tahrir Square, the epicenter of their demonstrations, in tents made with plastic tarps and bed covers to protect them from chilly weather, sprawling out into sidestreets. Many have been sleeping underneath the tanks of soldiers surrounding the square to prevent the vehicles from moving or trying to clear the area for traffic.
Tahrir has turned into a giant living room for the protesters, who wake early in the morning to mob the streets, distribute sweets and welcome visitors who come to take pictures with tanks and protesters' banners.
The demonstrations have paralyzed the area around the square, defying the government's efforts to restore a sense of normalcy as the uprising enters its third week.
Egypt's most famous tourist attraction, the Pyramids of Giza, reopened to tourists on Wednesday. Tens of thousands of foreigners have fled Egypt amid the chaos, raising concerns about the economic impact of the protests.
Suleiman's comments the previous night were a blunt, impatient warning for the protests' youth organizers to enter talks and drop their insistence on Mubarak's ouster. He rejected any immediate departure for Mubarak - who says he will serve out the rest of his term until September elections - or any "end to the regime."
"We can't bear this for a long time," he said of the Tahrir protests. "There must be an end to this crisis as soon as possible." Speaking to the editors of state and independent newspapers Tuesday night, he said the regime wants to resolve the crisis through dialogue, adding, "We don't want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools."
If dialogue is not successful, he said, the alternative is "that a coup happens, which would mean uncalculated and hasty steps, including lots of irrationalities." The comment appeared to be a possible hint at imposing military law - which would be a dramatic escalation.
Osama Saraya, the editor-in-chief of the pro-government newspaper Al-Ahram who attended the meeting, said Suleiman didn't only mean a military coup but a takeover by another powerful state apparatus or Islamist groups.
But protest supporters and organizers reacted with alarm.
Abdul-Rahman Samir, a spokesman for a coalition of the five main youth groups behind the protests in Tahrir Square, said Suleiman was creating "a disastrous scenario."
"He is threatening to impose martial law, which means everybody in the square will be smashed," Samir said. "But what would he do with the rest of 70 million Egyptians who will follow us afterward."
Ayman Nour, a former presidential candidate who is an opposition Ghad liberal party leader, dismissed the remarks.
"He is leaving one option to us, since dialogue is not real and those who are talking are Suleiman to Suleiman," Nour said. "That option is the coup."
Over the weekend, Suleiman held a widely publicized round of talks with the opposition - including representatives from among the protest activists, the Muslim Brotherhood and official, government-sanctioned opposition parties, which have taken no role in the protests.
But the youth activists have said the session appeared to be an attempt to divide their ranks and they have said they don't trust Suleiman's promises that the regime will carry out constitutional reforms to bring greater democracy in a country Mubarak has ruled for nearly 30 years with an authoritarian hand.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best organized opposition group, which initially welcomed the talks, took a tougher line Tuesday, calling Mubarak's regime "illegitimate" and calling for the government to open "all files of corruption."
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Suleiman, saying Washington wants Egypt to immediately rescind emergency laws that give broad powers to security forces - a key demand of the protesters.
Suleiman's remarks came hours after a 30-year-old Google executive who helped ignite the uprising energized a cheering crowd of hundreds of thousands with his first appearance in their midst after being released from 12 days in secret detention. "We won't give up," Wael Ghonim promised at one of the biggest protests yet in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Once a behind-the-scenes Internet activist, Ghonim has emerged as an inspiring voice for a movement that has taken pride in being a leaderless "people's revolution."
Associated Press writer Maamoun Youssef contributed to this report.
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