Egypt: Seventh Day Of Revolt Begins As President Mubarak Still Clings To Power

31 Jan

Demonstrators in Egypt have begun the seventh day of protests in Egypt by chanting slogans against the country’s leader, who shows no sign of releasing his grip on power.

Video: Vigilante Law Takes Hold Across Cairo

Mubarak Holds On As Egypt Protests Continue Play video

Video: Mubarak Holds On As Egypt Protests Continue

Groups of protesters, who camped out in central Cairo overnight, say they are determined not to leave until Hosni Mubarak goes.

They are taking to the streets once again in a peaceful bid to oust the president of 30 years.

All eyes are now on the country’s army, which has been drafted in by Mubarak to take over control of the city’s streets from the police.

Many believe they hold the key to Egypt’s fate – and behind the scenes, generals are thought to be considering their options.

In Alexandria, where more demonstrations are planned, the military presence increased overnight with several trucks and other army vehicles seen on the city streets and soldiers setting up checkpoints.

Streets are said to be piling up with rubbish as shops and hotels run out of basic supplies as infrastructure breaks down due to the unrest.

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has told Sky News it is “impossible” to tell whether Mubarak’s time was up or what might happen in the next 48 hours.

A general strike has been called for today, but now appears not to be going ahead. A march billed as the “protest of the millions” is due to take place tomorrow.

More than 100 people have so far died during six days of unrest.

There were further mass demonstrations over the weekend in Cairo as residents complained of a deteriorating security situation and tourists and expats continued to flee the country.

Several tanks were deployed in city centre and the suburbs while jets made multiple passes overhead.

However, troops made no attempt to break up the protests.

Leading Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei was among those who defied the curfew and addressed the crowd in Tahrir (Liberation) Square.

He is heading an opposition coalition that includes the mass Islamist movement the Muslim Brotherhood and is calling for a national unity government to be set up.

US President Barack Obama has called for Mr Mubarak to initiate an “orderly transition” – Egypt is a key ally in the Middle East and a recipient of billions of dollars of aid.

Mr ElBaradei said: “It is better for President Obama not to appear that he is the last one to say to President Mubarak: ‘It’s time for you to go’.”

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has also urged Mr Mubarak to “initiate a transformation”.

Looting over the weekend – prompted by police withdrawing from duty – has added to unease and an exodus of tourists and expats.

Reports said 34 members of banned Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, walked out of a prison near Cairo after guards left their posts.

Impromptu neighbourhood watch groups have been set up, checking cars and people entering some suburbs of Cairo.

Extra troops have been sent into cities to restore the security situation.

Many countries – including Britain – have urged their citizens not to travel to Egypt unless absolutely necessary.

Foreign Office advice for British tourists is being updated daily and people are asked to check the website.


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