'Just leave.' Protestors want one thing
Photo: AFP
Masses spend the night at square
Photo: AP
Mubarak-Hitler on one of posters
Photo: AP
ElBaradei. 'Mubarak better leave'
Photo: Reuters

Egypt protestors gather for mass march

Some 200,000 people arrive at Cairo's Tahrir Square, joining masses who spent night there ahead of 'million man' march. 'The ball is in the European and American court,' says Egyptian protestor. 'All we want is that they stop supporting Mubarak'

Despite the Egyptian authorities' attempts to disrupt the anti-government protests, the country prepared Tuesday for a "million man march" expected to leave central Cairo in the late morning hours.


Hundreds of thousands of people arrived at the Tahrir Square on Tuesday morning, joining masses who violated the curfew and spent the night there.


"The ball is in the European and American court. We don't want anything but for them to stop supporting (Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak," protestor Osama Alem, 43, told the French news agency.


The Egyptian army vowed not to open fire at the tens of thousands of protestors. Military helicopters we seen hovering above central Cairo.


A major protest was also planned in the city of Alexandria, where masses of people took the streets carrying signs urging the president to "go home". Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party, on the other hand, planned to hold a rally in solidarity with Mubarak in the city of Ismailia.


Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the leaders of the Egyptian uprising, told British newspaper Independent that if President Hosni Mubarak "wants to save his skin, he better leave... Ultimately, the Egyptian army will be with the people."


He added that he did not want to be president. Asked whether he would consider transitional presidency until general elections are held, he said: "If there's a consensus by all people… I will do that."


Some 50 NGOs and Egyptian human rights groups issued a joint statement calling on Mubarak to retire. The Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank and the Hamas government in Gaza, on the other hand, instructed their people not to comment on the situation in Egypt.


The Palestinian side has kept silent since the start of the anti-government protests, apart from one statement made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who expressed his solidarity with Mubarak in a short phone call several days ago.


Ex-US envoy in Egypt amid turmoil

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.

צילום: AP

'Mubarak will fall' (Photo: AP)


As part of the efforts to crush the uprising, the Egyptian government shut down the al-Jazeera television network and cut off access to the Internet, which had helped the people organize the protests.


However, Google Inc. launched a special service to allow people in Egypt to send Twitter messages by dialing a phone number and leaving a voicemail. The voicemail is automatically translated into an audio file message that is sent on Twitter using the identifying tag #egypt, Google said.


At least 10,000 protestors spent the night at Tahrir Square, equipped with drums, musical instruments and a lot of motivation and anger at President Hosni Mubarak. "All he needs is a push" has been one of the most popular sayings at the Cairo square in recent days.


The army blocked the entrances to the square, after the authorities on Monday halted all trains through the country in a bid to prevent protestors from reaching the "million man" march in Cairo and rallies in other cities.


The new government sworn in by Mubarak on Monday afternoon failed to return the protestors to their home.


The official death toll in the riots, which entered their eighth day on Tuesday, stands at 97. According to unofficial reports, however, at least 150 people have been killed so far. The chaos in Egypt's international airport continues, as thousands of tourists and foreign nationals seeking to leave the country are searching for available flights.


Elior Levy and Reuters contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 02.01.11, 10:03
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