News / Middle East

No End in Sight for Protests in Egypt

Egyptians carry an injured protester during clashes with anti-riot police in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011.
Egyptians carry an injured protester during clashes with anti-riot police in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011.

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Henry Ridgwell

Latest Details from Egypt

At least 100 people have been killed and some 1,000 wounded in the five days of anti-government protests. At least three protesters were reported to be killed Saturday when police opened fire on demonstrators near the Interior Ministry in Cairo. At least 22 people were killed in clashes in Beni Suef, south of the capital.

Protesters are taking to the streets across Egypt once again Sunday to demand the resignation of the president. The army has deployed tanks at key locations in the capital, but there are reports of looting in several cities and at the famed Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

President Hosni Mubarak has warned that he will do all in his power to maintain order, but opposition politicians have joined calls for him to go.

Egyptians once again defied the overnight curfew and took to the streets to vent their fury.

The army is also out in force, but so far the protesters are treating them as heroes, climbing on board the tanks to shake the soldiers hands, and have their photos taken - a snapshot of a historic moment for them and for Egypt.

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.
  • Vice President Omar Suleiman: The new Egyptian Vice President has served as head of intelligence and is 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 is 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.

They are demanding President Mubarak stand down. If anything, his address to the nation Friday night appears to have drawn more protests, and more anger, and the protesters want America's backing.

"Is America with us or the regime? Is America with the public or the president? We want to know their position now," said one protester. "Mubarak has been president for 30 years. He must go. Is America with us?"

Soldiers are guarding key buildings across the city, including government ministries, the American and British embassies, and the world famous Egyptian Museum.

The legions of riot police deployed Friday are now gone.

As darkness fell in Cairo few could predict what might happen in the coming hours. Buildings and police vehicles still smolder from the previous night's riots, and more smoke plumes are rising above the city.

Cell phone networks have been restored, but the Internet remains down. The curfew was brought forward to 4 p.m., but with little effect.

In his address, the president pledged to protect the country and its citizens, and while firing his government and announcing a new Cabinet, he refused to step down.

Analysts here say he has underestimated the level of anger. With the protesters shouting for him to leave, and tearing down posters of Mr. Mubarak across Cairo and other cities, they say his future as president remains deeply uncertain.

Much depends on the army. If it withdraws support from the president, analysts say Egypt will soon have a new leadership. But the army's first task is to try to maintain order as the streets of Cairo and other cities once again fill with angry protesters.

Watch Raw Video of the Street Protests in Cairo

View the slide show of anti-government protests in Egypt

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