News / Middle East

Anticipation High Among Egypt Protesters Ahead of Expected Announcement

A protester holds a placard showing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and reading
A protester holds a placard showing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and reading "Go out... Just do it" at the continuing anti-government demonstration in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Feb 10 2011

Anticipation is high in Egypt's capital amid speculation that protesters' demands for the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak may be met.

The crowd here is absolutely galvanized by the possibility that there’s going to be a major announcement. The head of the NDP (National Democratic Party) said that Mr. Mubarak is likely to address the nation this evening.

We’ve had this meeting of the Supreme Council of the armed forces, and, notably, at least from the pictures, Mr. Mubarak was not there. They said that - they read a statement over state TV, which immediately went through the crowd that the armed forces are going to protect the nation. And, although it was an ambiguous statement, I think many people here just took it to be very, very good news.

Now, there’s wild speculation that Mr. Mubarak might actually step down tonight. Again, that is not anything that can be predicted, but in this quite crazy and moving moment-by-moment situation, it seems anything is possible.

What is interesting - some of the people we’ve been talking to seem to  -- over the last few days, officials have been making sort of veiled warnings that, unless the protests end, that there might be a coup. That was what the vice-president had said, (that) that’s the only alternative to dialogue. And, then we had the foreign minister also warning that there might be military intervention.

But, oddly enough, people here seem to think that that actually would be a very good thing. They are sick to death of all of the top leadership; it’s not just Mr. Mubarak; it’s the vice president and everybody associated with him that they want gone. So, in fact, the army they see as the guarantor of possible change, not to be actively involved in the transition, but keeping some sense of peace, while they try and work out the transition to elections. And what they’ve been hoping for is a real say in their government.

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