#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Dictator Mubarak bows to the will of the people

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dictator Mubarak bows to the will of the people

CELEBRATIONS: Jubiliant Egyptians in Tahrir Square. Reuters pic

"We have brought down the regime,  we have brought down the regime! We held our ground ... we did it."

When it finally came, the end was swift. After 18 days of mass protest, it took just over 30 seconds for Egypt's vice-president, Omar Suleiman, to announce that President Hosni Mubarak was standing down and handing power to the military.

"In the name of Allah the most gracious the most merciful," Suleiman read. "My fellow citizens, in the difficult circumstances our country is experiencing, President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak has decided to give up the office of the president of the republic and instructed the supreme council of the armed forces to manage the affairs of the country. May God guide our steps."

Moments later a deafening roar swept central Cairo and protesters fell to their knees and prayed, wept and let loose victory chants. Hundreds of thousands of people packed in to Tahrir Square, the centre of the demonstrations, waved flags, held up hastily written signs declaring victory and embraced soldiers.

"We have brought down the regime, we have brought down the regime," chanted the crowd.

Among those in the square was Mohammed Abdul Ghedi, a lifeguard in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the former president and his family flew on Friday. Abdul Ghedi held up a sign in English that said: "Mubarak you are nothing, you are heartless, without mind, just youkel, worthless, fuck off."

Mubarak the liar
"This is my first day here and he is gone. Mubarak is a liar. When he promised to leave in three or six months we don't believe him. We only believe him when he is gone," he said. "Now Egyptians are free. All of Egypt is liberated. Now we will choose our leaders and if we don't like them, they will go."

Another protester with tears in his eyes, Karim Medhat Ennarah, said: "For 18 days we have withstood teargas, rubber bullets, live ammunition, Molotov cocktails, thugs on horseback, the scepticism and fear of our loved ones, and the worst sort of ambivalence from an international community that claims to care about democracy. But we held our ground. We did it."

There were similar celebrations across the country, from Alexandria to Suez, among protesters who were often too young to have known any other leader than Mubarak.

Implications of military rule
But the demonstrators were giving little immediate thought to what military rule will mean, and there were few indications from the army as to if and when it intends to meet other demands – including the dissolving of a discredited parliament elected in tainted elections, the lifting of the oppressive 30-year state of emergency, and the installation of a civilian-dominated interim administration.

For now, Egypt will be governed by a military council led by the defence minister, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who is not a known reformer. But some of the protest organisers said that the dramatic success of the street demonstrations meant that any future administration would be held to account.

Mohammed ElBaradei, who on Thursday called for a military takeover, described the change as the liberation of the Egyptian people.

"We have a lot of daunting tasks ahead of us. Our priority to make sure the country is restored; socially cohesive, economically vibrant, politically democratic," he said. "My message to the Egyptian people is you have gained your liberty, the right to catch up with the rest of the world. Make the best use of it."

Push for stable administration
In the US the Obama administration had schemed to try to keep Mubarak in power until a stable transitional administration was in place. In recent days, however, the Egyptian regime's failure to make any substantial reforms and defiance of American pressure had become a deepening problem for Washington.

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, has been in regular contact with Tantawi and spoke to him just hours before the military takeover.

In Britain, David Cameron called on the new Egyptian administration to ensure a move to civilian and democratic rule. The EU foreign policy chief, Lady Ashton, welcomed Mubarak's resignation. "It is important now that the dialogue is accelerated leading to a broad-based government which will respect the aspirations of, and deliver stability for, the Egyptian people," she said.

Switzerland immediately froze the assets of the former president.

Last ditch play for power
Mubarak's resignation came after a turbulent 24 hours in which a televised address to the nation that was intended to defuse the crisis only further infuriated the protesters and prompted the largest demonstrations to date.

On Thursday evening, after a day in which members of the president's party and cabinet said they expected him to resign, Mubarak (pictured top right) announced that he was handing his powers to Suleiman. That in effect left Mubarak as president in name only, a move he appears to have believed would be enough to satisfy the protesters' demands for his resignation.

But on the streets of Cairo the announcement was interpreted as the regime's leaders shuffling authority among themselves. Instead of easing the crisis, Mubarak's statement deepened it.

The army appears to have expected more from him, possibly including his complete resignation or the transfer of powers to the military, not Suleiman. Clearly alarmed at the popular reaction it sought to reassure the protesters on Friday morning with a declaration that the promise of free elections would be fulfilled.

But that too failed to ease the demonstrations as many in the opposition saw the statement as backing the status quo, although it could also be read as offering an assurance to Egyptians that the military was prepared to ensure Mubarak stood by his commitments.
As the protests built up during the day, a determined crowd marched on the state television building, a target of particular ire because of its stream of propaganda and false accusations against the protesters.

The station all but went off air as it had to cancel live programmes because it could not get guests into the building. Several hours later it was conducting interviews again – with protesters and victims of the regime.

The protesters fanned out to other parts of the city and began a march on Mubarak's presidential palace. Meanwhile the military's supreme council held an emergency session to decide how to clearly confront the crisis and concluded that Mubarak had to go once and for all.

By lunchtime he was on a plane with his family to Sharm el-Sheikh, where he also has a palace which he periodically lends to Tony Blair.

A few hours later came the announcement that had Egypt celebrating in to the night. (The Guardian newspaper)


sara'ssista said...

What's the bet that even after 30 years of dictatorship, even the egyptians can reform their system and hold free and fair elections within one year. Compare this to fiji.

Tiger Balm said...

agree with you sara'ssista ....they will beat fiji to democracy lol

convolutedexperiment said...

The Public in Egypt have already within a matter of days, organised themselves to the point where they had up to 8 check points for people trying to enter the square in Cairo where they all gathered last week.
This was done without the assistance of the Army or Government and it was done to keep the Secret Police and weapons etc. out of the square to protect the Civilians.
The Egyptian Secret Police were telling the people that reporters were making false reports against Egyptians so they would attack reporters.
the idea of this was to effectively stop reporters showing what was really happening in Egypt.
It was effective for a couple of days until people realised that they were being tricked by propaganda.

In Fiji, it seems that people are still believing the propaganda.

Leone said...

wait for 30 years