Protests in Egypt continued throughout the weekend. The police were brought out to subdue the crowds using rubber bullets, tear gas and eventually live ammunition. The police finally retreated and the Egyptian army was brought in its stead. The army has been using a more peaceful approach in hopes that the crowd would settle on its own.
Egyptian President Mubarak broke his silence on Friday. He has offered to change out his current top officials. The protesters have stated that he had 30 years to make his government work and now they want him out. The crowds have not selected a leader for a replacement government, but have chosen ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Laureate, to hold negotiations with Mr. Mubarak in transitioning to a new government.
Much speculation has occurred over whether the Egyptian President will step down. The Egyptian people look at the success in Tunisia for inspiration and say that they too can bring down their oppressive government. At this point it might be a staring match between them and the President, because, unlike the president of Tunisia, this president has made no move at fleeing.
The President’s two sons as well as his wife are believed to have already fled the country. The crowds hope this is a sign that Mubarak’s departure will not be far behind. The protesters see the army moving in and the police retreating as a victory already. They view the army as being in support of the people instead of the president. No clear intentions have been made from the army itself, but the fact that they have been treating the civilians peacefully is a good sign.
World leaders have been in communication with each other in forming a stance on the current situation in Egypt. Many are concerned that if the entire government is overthrown, there will be no stability in Egypt. Just over this weekend small bands of civilians have formed together to protect their property while looting has occurred.
In addition, this revolt has not had any obvious leaders. It remains unclear whom the people would select to lead them. It might be best, at least in the short term, to leave the current government structure in place and simply choose some new leaders to give it better direction. Perhaps removing the Emergency Law that has been uninterrupted since Mr. Mubarak became president would be a good start.
Whatever the outcome of this protest, it seems clear that the people of Egypt will not back down until some visible change begins to take place with their government. What form that will take remains to be unseen.
Jeremy Bowen. “Egypt Protests: ElBaradei tells crowd ‘change coming”, BBC News
John Simpson. “Can Mubarak survive the revolt?”, BBC News
Sharif Abdel Kouddous. “Live From the Egyptian Revolution”, Democracy Now!