Tag Archives: Egyptian protests
President Obama was scheduled to speak this afternoon at 1:30pm eastern time but it was postponed without explanation. Obama has had trouble formulating his response to the Egyptian uprising, trying to support the democratic goals of the protesters but not openly antagonize a long-time ally or encourage upheaval that could spill over into other parts of the oil-rich region. Obama now faces the task of helping to ensure broad political reform in the Arab world’s most populous country while preserving U.S. interests in the regions. He will face the test of keeping the power shift in Cairo from unnerving Middle East allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel or emboldening foes like Iran and al Qaeda.
EDIT: Obama did speak this afternoon at 3pm eastern time. He praised the Egyptian military for the lack of violence and on the Egyptian people for persevering in their search for democracy. He quoted Martin Luther King Jr. saying, “There is something in the soul that cries out for freedom. Those were the cries that came from Tahrir Square, and the entire world has taken note.”
In reality, this is where the real work begins for the Egyptian people. The movers and shakers in the military are going to start maneuvering to protect their own interests. The Egyptian people need to keep up the pressure and make sure that the Supreme Council keeps the promises it has made. The Egyptian military has come off looking very nice in this situation. On a whole, there was no violence between the soldiers and the protestors and the military has set itself up with an image to be helping the people. But I wonder what is really happening behind closed doors and if the transition of power will really happen.
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.
Well, we are now getting reports that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has officially resigned today after the explosive and negative response of protesters following Mubarak’s Thursday announcement that he would move some of his authority to the new Vice President, Omar Suleiman. Reports say that the Egyptian military (which has been acting very oddly in my opinion, doing little to control the crowds that stormed the state television building and other governmental organizations, including the presidential palace, during the 18 days of protests) has moved in to force him out completely.
“In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic,” a grim-looking Omar Suleiman said. “He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.”
Mubarak resigns, hands power to military – Yahoo! News