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Analyst: More Egyptian Protests Expected Monday Despite Curfew

  • Peter Clottey

Tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters gather at Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011

Tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters gather at Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011

A scholar said Egyptians are dissatisfied with the appointment of a vice president and will continue with their protests Monday despite an imposed curfew to press home their demands for embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down from office.

Howayda Mostafa, professor of mass communication at the University of Cairo, told VOA the protesters do not consider the installation of Vice President Omar Suleiman as the real democratic transformation in government that they are demanding.

“Today (Monday), they will continue to protest because the nomination of the vice president and all the (others) didn’t satisfy the protesters because they consider that this change doesn’t reflect a real change because both of them are very close to the regime. They (protesters) are expecting a real change in the regime itself,” Mostafa said.

“In addition, they asked the president to go out and to make real change; and they called for another regime which respects them and their aspirations; and they are calling for a new constitution; and they are calling for a government which reflects many political forces. So, they will continue to protest till they realize these changes.”

Meanwhile, Nobel laureate and Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei told thousands of protesters in the capital’s Tahrir Square Sunday that they "cannot go back" after starting the uprising against Mr. Mubarak.

Mostafa said it’s impossible to predict whether the ongoing protests will force President Mubarak to step down.

“No one can be sure what will happen in the future. But, as we see now, this is the first time that the regime tried to listen to the people because it’s a real manifestation,” said Mostafa.

A crowd of some 5,000 people erupted in applause as Mr. El-Baradei called for an end to the Mubarak government so that a new Egypt of "freedom and dignity" can emerge. Cairo's Tahrir Square has become a hub of grassroots anti-Mubarak demonstrations.

Protesters also defied the government-imposed curfew in other cities, including the northern port city of Alexandria where thousands continued an hours-long march.

The government says the curfew will continue to be in effect on Monday. It also has extended the curfew one hour, starting at 3:00 pm local time (1300 GMT) instead of 4:00 pm (1400 GMT).

Media reports say police will begin returning to some streets in Cairo on Monday two days after withdrawing following violent clashes with protesters. Security sources say they will return to routine duties, but will not confront protesters.

Egypt's army has increased its presence, but has made no attempt to disperse demonstrators since being deployed. The army is popular and highly respected, while many Egyptians see the police force as corrupt and repressive.