Egyptian protestors stay the course in big turnout on Friday

Al-Jazeera has been shut down on NileSat, and moved to another frequency, notices on Twitter inform us. Today is the day of the “million person” march in Egypt.

Now, is overcapacity, too.

A Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson has just said the key demand, for them, is that Husni Mubarak step down. He said Egypt has “an unjust, repressive government”. Other demands are for freedom of expression, and dissolution of the Parliament, and removal of Mubarak’s son Gamal as a prime candidate for replacing his father…

Mubarak had been expected to make a live statement to his nation at 6pm, about 1.5 hours ago, when a 13-hour curfew was to have gone into effect. But, thousands and thousands of Egyptians are still out in the streets in cities around the country.

All protests were banned in Egypt today, too — but that, too, was completely ineffective.

The army was sent out into the streets out of Egypt earlier in the day.

By 7:30 in the evening, Al-Jazeera was reporting that there was no police presence left on the streets. At least two police personnel carriers were burning, after having been set on fire by the protestors.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a live appearance instead (from Washington) in which she called first of all upon the Egyptian government to refrain from using force against the demonstrators. She said that the U.S. supports “the universal human rights of the Egyptian people”, including freedom of expression and assembly. And she called on the government to reverse its unprecedented steps to cut off communication in the country.

UPDATE: Later — after 1 am on Saturday — a recorded statement by Egyptian President Mubarak was broadcast on state television and internationally. Mubarak said there was a “fine line between freedom + chaos”. He said that Egyptians were worried about unrest and insecurity, and fearful for the future. And, he added, “I asked govt to step down today + will name a new one tomorrow”.

After Mubarak’s statement was aired, U.S. President Obama spoke to him by phone, reportedly for 30 minutes — then Obama made his own public on-air statement. Obama said that “our first concern” was to “call on the Egyptian authorities to refrain from using violence… Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people. Wahat is needed are concrete steps to address the grievances of the Egyptian people”. And, Obama said pointedly, “all governments must maintain power by consent, not by coercion”, and added that “the U.S, will continue to stand by the Egyptian people”…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *