News / Middle East

Anti-Government Protests Spread in Egypt

A protester holds an Egyptian flag as he stands in front of water canons during clashes in Cairo,  Jan 28, 2011
A protester holds an Egyptian flag as he stands in front of water canons during clashes in Cairo, Jan 28, 2011

Violent protest spread across Cairo and other Egyptian cities on Friday as tens of thousands of demonstrators intensified their campaign to oust President Hosni Mubarak. The government has also announced a curfew until Saturday morning.

People were pouring into the streets of Cairo from mosques after midday prayers, clashing with police who fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

Police also fired water cannons at one of the country's leading pro-democracy advocates, Mohamed ElBaradei, and his supporters as they joined the latest wave of protests. The Associated Press reports that ElBaradei has been placed under house arrest.  Earlier ElBaradei sounded defiant as he said the Mubarak regime must listen.

"[I'm]calling, and I'll continue to call on the regime, that they have to listen to the people and initiate immediately a process of change," ElBaradei said.

The former head of the nuclear watchdog, The International Atomic Energy Agency, and a Nobel peace laureate returned to Cairo on Thursday and is promising to join the protests that have so far been propelled by young people.

Slideshow of Egypt Protests



Smaller  protests also took place in Assiut south of Cairo and al-Arish in the Sinai peninsula. There were news reports of clashes with police in the port city of Alexandria and Minya.

Key Players in Egypt's Crisis

  • President Hosni Mubarak: The 82-year-old has ruled Egypt for 30 years as leader of the National Democratic Party. With no named successor and in poor health, analysts say the president is grooming his son, Gamal, to succeed him. Egypt's longest-serving president came to power after the assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat.
  • Mohamed ElBaradei: The Nobel Peace laureate and former Egyptian diplomat has gained international attention as a vocal critic of Mr. Mubarak and his government. Until recently he headed the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, and he has lived outside Egypt for years. ElBaradei founded the nonpartisan movement National Association for Change, and has offered to lead a transitional administration in Egypt if Mr. Mubarak steps down.
  • Minister Omar Suleiman: The head of Egyptian intelligence and a close ally of President Mubarak, Suleiman is seen by some analysts as a possible successor to the president. He earned international respect for his role as a mediator in Middle East affairs and for curbing Islamic extremism.
  • Ayman Nour: The political dissident founded the Al Ghad or "tomorrow" party. Nour ran against Mr. Mubarak in the 2005 election and was later jailed on corruption charges. The government released him in 2009 under pressure from the United States and other members of the international community.
  • Muslim Brotherhood: The Islamic fundamentalist organization was outlawed in Egypt, but remains the largest opposition group. Its members previously held 20 percent of the seats in parliament, but lost them after a disputed election in late 2010. The group leads a peaceful political and social movement aimed at forming an Islamic state.


Internet and cell phone connections have been disrupted or restricted in Cairo, Alexandria and other places, cutting off social media Web sites that had been used to organize protests and complicating efforts by news media to report on events on the ground. Some reports said journalists had been singled out by police who used batons to beat and charge protesters.

Wael Ibrahim, a local resident in Cairo, is one of a crowd of thousands. He says he is tired of the country's financial woes.

"The average Egyptian is suffering from low wages," Wael said. "All we want is a solution to this, it's not a question of removing Hosni [Mubarak] from power, we want a solution."

But others seemed less sympathetic toward the current administration. News reports show protesters in Al Azhar in old Cairo, chanting "The people want to bring down the regime!"

ElBaradei recently wrote on his Twitter site: "The writing is on the wall. Hope regime gets it: change cannot wait."

One cell phone operator, Vodafone, said Friday that Egypt had told all mobile operators to suspend services in selected areas of the country. The British company said it would comply with the order, Reuters reported.

President Mubarak, 82, has been in office since 1981.

The Egyptian government tolerates little dissent and opposition demonstrations are routinely outlawed.

On Thursday, Mr. Mubarak's National Democratic Party, NDP, said it was ready for dialogue but did not offer any concessions.

The U.S. government, which counts Egypt as one of its most important allies in the Arab world, has so far been cautious in expressing support for either side.

President Barack Obama described the protests as the result of "pent-up frustrations", saying he had frequently pressed Mr. Mubarak to enact reforms. He urged both sides not to resort to violence.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement on Egypt protests

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

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid