[lit-ideas] Re: Not watching the news

  • From: Judith Evans <judithevans001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2011 14:46:49 +0000 (GMT)

Al Jazeera's live coverage shut down.  (All this BBC), military planes are 
buzzing the main Cairo square.  
Differing reports from the square and outside but it seems the square's being 
blocked off by tanks. 
Cross your fingers
--- On Sun, 30/1/11, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [lit-ideas] Not watching the news
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Sunday, 30 January, 2011, 3:59

Mubarak names deputy, protesters defy curfew 

           Buzz up!151 votes 




 Reuters – Egyptian soldiers sit on top of an armoured vehicle in Cairo January 
29, 2011.REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic 

 Play Video TV Video:Egypt TV shows post-curfew arrests Reuters 
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 Play Video TV Video:Hollywood Nation: Stork Makes a Delivery FOX News 
By Edmund Blair and Dina Zayed Edmund Blair And Dina Zayed – Sat Jan 29, 
5:38 pm ET

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt's street protesters pushed President Hosni Mubarak into 
naming a deputy who might in time succeed him, but thousands went on defying a 
curfew and urging the army to join them in forcing Mubarak from power 
Police shot dead 17 people at Beni Suef, south of Cairo, as pressure mounted on 
Mubarak from allies in Washington and Europe to restrain his police and speed a 
democratic transition that would end his 30 years of one-man rule.
Thousands marched in Cairo by day, unmolested by troops who manned tanks on the 
streets. After dark, police there opened fire in at least one incident, looters 
roamed for booty, and the national tax office was set ablaze. Recalling eastern 
Europe in 1989, one analyst called it "the Arab world's Berlin moment."
In naming intelligence chief Omar Suleiman vice-president, many saw Mubarak 
edging toward an eventual, army-approved handover of power. The 82-year-old 
former general has long kept his 80 million people guessing over succession 
plans that had, until this week, seemed to focus on grooming his son Gamal, 47.
Gamal's hopes now seem remote. The promotion of Suleiman, 74, a key player in 
ties with the United States and Israel, and the appointment of another military 
man, Ahmed Shafiq, as prime minister pleased some Egyptians worried about 
looming chaos.
According to various estimates about 100 people have been killed during the 
week, in the capital and other cities. Medical sources say at least 1,030 
people were hurt in Cairo. Among the dead were three policemen killed in the 
President Barack Obama met Vice President Joe Biden and national security 
adviser Tom Donilon to discuss unrest in the Arab power that is a linchpin of 
U.S. Middle East strategy.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the Egyptian government "can't 
reshuffle the deck and then stand pat."
"He is just like Mubarak, there is no change," one protester said of Suleiman 
outside the Interior Ministry, where thousands were protesting. The last 
vice-president was Mubarak himself, before he succeeded the assassinated Anwar 
Sadat in 1981.
Later, police opened fire on a crowd hundreds strong at the ministry. A Reuters 
reporter saw one protester fall wounded.
"This is the Arab world's Berlin moment," said Fawaz Gerges of the London 
School of Economics. "The authoritarian wall has fallen, and that's regardless 
of whether Mubarak survives.
"The barrier of fear has been removed. It is really the beginning of the end of 
the status quo in the region."
The prospect of even greater upheaval across the Middle East -- regardless of 
whether it is the crowd or their rulers who get the upper hand -- is prompting 
some investors to see risks for oil supplies that could in turn hamper global 
economic growth.
More immediately, Egypt's vital tourist industry is taking a knock. In 
prosperous parts of Cairo, vigilantes guarded homes, shops and hotels from 
looters. Thieves at the Egyptian Museum damaged two mummies from the time of 
the pharaohs.
Of Suleiman's appointment, analyst Gamal Abdel Gawad Soltan said: "This is the 
beginning of a process of power transfer."
At the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jon Alterman said: "I 
can't see how this is not the beginning of the end of Mubarak's presidency. It 
seems that his task now is to try and manage the transition past his 
leadership. I have a hard time believing that he will be the president in a 
Many saw Mubarak's concessions as echoes of those made two weeks ago by 
Tunisia's Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Just a day later, Ben Ali had fled his 
country, deserted by an army which preferred to back less hated figures in his 
Tunisians' Internet-fed uprising over economic hardship and political 
oppression has inspired growing masses of unemployed youth across the Arab 
world, leaving autocratic leaders worried. 
With the French and British leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "We 
call on President Mubarak to renounce any violence again unarmed civilians." 
The European trio also called for "free and fair elections" -- something that 
few doubt would end the grip of the establishment build up around Mubarak. 
Like other Arab leaders, the president portrays himself as a bulwark against 
the West's Islamist enemies. But Egypt's banned opposition movement the Muslim 
Brotherhood has been only one element in the week's events. It lays claim to 
"A new era of freedom and democracy is dawning in the Middle East," Kamel 
El-Helbawy, a cleric from the Brotherhood said from exile in London. "Islamists 
would not be able to rule Egypt alone. We should and would cooperate." 
A Brotherhood lawyer in Egypt told Reuters that Mubarak's hesitation to meet 
protesters' demands had increased appetite for change. Abdel-Moneim 
Abdel-Maksoud said Mubarak should step down -- but that an interim government 
was needed to preserve order for some months until free elections. 
On the Corniche promenade alongside the River Nile in Cairo, people stayed out 
after the curfew deadline, standing by tanks and chatting with soldiers who 
took no action to disperse them. 
At one point, dozens of people approached a military cordon carrying a sign 
reading "Army and People Together." Soldiers pulled back and let the group 
through: "There is a curfew," one lieutenant said. "But the army isn't going to 
shoot anyone." 
While the police are generally feared as an instrument of repression, the army 
is seen as a national institution. 
Rosemary Hollis, at London's City University, said the army had to decide 
whether it stood with Mubarak or the people: "It's one of those moments where 
as with the fall of communism in Eastern Europe they can come down to 
individual lieutenants and soldiers to decide whether they fire on the crowd or 
In Alexandria, police used teargas and live ammunition against demonstrators 
earlier on Saturday. Protests continued in the port city after curfew, 
witnesses said. 
So far, the protest movement seems to have no clear leader or organization. 
Prominent activist Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Laureate for his work with 
the U.N. nuclear agency, returned to Egypt from Europe to join the protests. 
But many Egyptians feel he has not spent enough time in the country. 
"Hosni Mubarak has not heard the people," ElBaradei told Al Jazeera, renewing 
his call for the president to step down. 
Banks will be shut on Sunday as "a precaution," Central Bank Governor Hisham 
Ramez told Reuters. The stock market, whose benchmark index tumbled 16 percent 
in two days, will also be closed on Sunday. The Egyptian pound fell to six-year 
(Additional reporting by Dina Zayed, Marwa Awad, Shaimaa Fayed, Sherine El 
Madany, Yasmine Saleh, Alison Williams and Samia Nakhoul in Cairo, Alexander 
Dziadosz in Suez, Arshad Mohammed in Washington and Peter Apps, Angus MacSwan 
and William Maclean in London; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Ralph 


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