News / Africa

    Analyst: Egypt’s President Mubarak Sees Crisis as 'Manageable'

    Anti-government protesters demonstrate in Tahrir, or Liberation Square in Cairo,  February 01, 2011
    Anti-government protesters demonstrate in Tahrir, or Liberation Square in Cairo, February 01, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Heba Morayef, a Human Rights Watch researcher, spoke with Clottey

    Peter Clottey

    An Egyptian-based human rights activist says beleaguered President Hosni Mubarak’s Tuesday night’s speech shows his belief that the ongoing “situation is manageable.”

    Heba Morayef, a Human Rights Watch researcher, said the protesters’ message is clear that President Mubarak should step down after serving as the country’s leader for three decades.

    “I think the protesters are trying to keep the momentum going to draw in additional protesters to keep the numbers up because, while the numbers remain high and the interest is there, they want to sustain that pressure from that perspective on the government and on the president specifically,” said Morayef.

    “Whether or not the president will respond to those demands I think is doubtful, in the short term, as his latest speech has shown. He has rejected the primary demand of resignation, but made an offering of not running in the next election. This does remind one to such an extent of the concession that [former Tunisian President Zine Abidine] Ben Ali made towards protesters’ demands by committing to leave by 2014.”

    In his late Tuesday speech, President Mubarak told the nation he will not run for office in the upcoming election scheduled for September. His remarks on state television came after hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets nationwide in peaceful demonstrations demanding that the embattled president resign.

    However, it is unclear if his decision will quell demands from many Egyptian protesters who want to see him leave office right away. After the speech, some demonstrators chanted demands that Mr. Mubarak vacate office immediately. “Leave! Leave!,” they shouted.

    In Cairo, throngs of people who had gathered for hours listened to the speech in Tahrir [Liberation] Square - a focal point of the peaceful protests.

    Some analysts say President Mubarak wants to “stall” for time in order to consolidate what they described as his shaken grip on power. But, Morayef said the protesters want a transition to new leadership for the country.

    “There are enough angry constituencies out there on the square [Tahrir] who have legitimate demands, whether these are socio-economic or political, or who just feel it’s time for a change in leadership,” said Morayef.

    “Tahrir, over the last few days, has become a safe space of expression and assembly. It’s not an experience Egyptians ever had before, the fact that they can say whatever they want, they can say it to the media and there is no police around to be scared off; any potential consequences for you and for your family is a new experience, and I think that is not one they are likely to forget very soon.”

    Opposition activist Mohamed ElBaradei told U.S. cable news television (CNN) that Mr. Mubarak's decision to remain in power will extend Egypt's “agony” until September’s election. He called the move an "act of deception" from someone who "does not want to let go.”

    “His latest speech shows that President Mubarak still feels the situation is manageable, and he feels that, by granting some of the demands by protesters, that will calm down the level of anger and will allow things to continue more or less like they were before,” said Morayef.

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora