Tag Archives: Egypt
Coined as Farewell Friday, people around Egypt are celebrating the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak today. The protestors crowded into Tahrir Square, the main site of the protest in Cairo, are celebrating what they see as the successful end of an 18-day protest against the Egyptian regime. The crowds took up the chant of “I am Egyptian…proud to be Egyptian” while setting off fireworks and shooting into the air. Celebrations have also started in other cities where protestors had gathered, including Alexandria, Suez, Mahala, Tanta, and Ismailia.
In Switzerland, the government has said it has frozen asset which possibly belong to Mubarak. There have been unconfirmed reports that he has amassed a fortune running into tens of billions of dollars. Meanwhile, officials in Israel watch the changes in Egypt closely. A senior Israeli official said the country hoped Mubarak’s resignation would bring no change to Israel’s peaceful relations with Cairo. However, the Islamist Palestinian Group Hamas has already called on Egypt’s new rulers to change its policies toward Gaza, hoping they will lift the blockade and open the border crossing.
Our own president has also been watching the news coverage and learned of Mubarak’s decision to resign during an Oval Office meeting. Vice President Joe Biden called it “a historic day for the people of Egypt.” President Obama will likely make a statement sometime this afternoon.
Reports this morning saying that Hosni Mubarak had left Cairo did not stop the march of protesters toward the presidential palace following Friday’s mid-day prayer. (It’s only 11:30am here but you have to remember that it is late afternoon in Egypt.) It was soon clarified that Mubarak and his family had simply flown to a resort in the Red Sea, Sharm el-Sheikh, where Mubarak often spends winters.
The Armed Forces Supreme Council is the military’s top body and has already vowed today to lift the country’s 30 year state of emergency when the “current situation has ended,” and promised to guarantee a free and fair presidential election. The Supreme Council has already stressed “the need to resume orderly work in the government installations and a return to normal life, preserve the interests and property of our great people.” It will remain to be seen how they handle the void left by Mubarak’s resignation. Omar Suleiman might just step into his place and I don’t think the Egyptian people realize that the new Vice President might not be any better than what they had before.
For weeks protestors on Tahrir Square have been chanting “the people and the army are one” and the military has played a great part in ousting Mubarak and keeping the general tone of the protests peaceful. But only time will tell to what extent the military and the citizenry share the same idea about how Egypt should be governed.