Egypt Protests: Over a Million Demonstrate in Cairo
'March of a Million' Calls for Mubarak to Step Down
The 'march of a million' has lived up to its name, with over a million protestors taking to the streets across Egypt to call for President Hosni Mubarak to step down. Despite the government shutting down trains and mobile phone service, demonstrators turned out in massive numbers.
Tahrir Square is the epicenter of the current demonstration, which has been peaceful so far, andthe military has not done anything to stop demonstrators from gathering. Protest organizers say they aim to have Mubarak out of office by Friday.
“O Mubarak, wake up, today is your last day!” shouted protesters. An effigy of the president was hung from a traffic signal in the middle of the square, and some signs depicted Egypt's president as Hitler.
Meanwhile, the United States has said nothing on whether or not Hosni Mubarak should quietly step down. The US is in a tricky spot: Egypt is the number-two source of aid from Washington, second only to Israel. Mubarak is seen as a key US ally, and whoever takes his place may not see things in quite the same way. The elephant in the room is the Camp David Accords, which Mubarak honored.
The current demonstrations show that Egyptians have made up their minds about Mubarak's future, but there is no clearly-endorsed choice for his replacement. However, Mohamed ElBaradei, former UN nuclear agency chief, could be making moves to step in as interim president, meeting with members of the newly-reshuffled Cabinet.
There was still no direct sign of Mr Mubarak stepping down, and Mr ElBaradei is not personally popular. But the lack of an alternative future for Egypt after a regime change that looks increasingly likely has made the former UN nuclear agency chief the most credible candidate to maintain stable government.
Initially unorganised, the protests against Mubarak are gradually coalescing into a loose reformist movement encompassing many sections of Egyptian society.
Young unemployed mixed with members of the Islamist movement the Muslim Brotherhood, and the urban poor held hands in solidarity with doctors and teachers.