Earlier today Egypt`s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced that it intends “to safeguard people and protect their interest” and it will stay in session throughout the ongoing crisis. The content and the title of the statement (“communiqué number 1”) suggest that we will hear more from the army in the coming days and that its leader may be calling the shots. Television footage of their meeting shows that Egypt`s President and Commander-in-Chief Hosni Mubarak was not present in the room. Egyptian state television announced that Mubarak plans to give a LIVE address from the Heliopolis Presidential Palace in Cairo. Is this Mubarak’s farewell address? Are 30 years of Mubarak over?
Egyptian Minister of Information, Anas al-Fiqi denied that Mubarak is stepping down. Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq said that no decision has been made about the future of Mubarak. Are they just pulling a Mohammed al-Sahhaf or is Mubarak still in charge?
We continue to wait in anticipation…
“Trusted sources” told Al-Destour that Mubarak will transfer presidential powers to his Vice President, Omar Suleiman.
Al-Wafd news site says that Mubarak has left Cairo with his family and that his speech was prerecorded. The report states that the army refused to allow Mubarak to transfer his powers to Suleiman on grounds that such a move would exacerbate the crisis.
Al-Masry Al-Youm’s online site says that Mubarak will deliver his address at 3:00 p.m. (EST). Mubarak met earlier today with the Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq and the Vice President Omar Suleiman.
[2:35 p.m. (EST)] Masrawy reports about leaks claiming that Mubarak’s speech will be emotional and will honor the dead protestors. In the same report, Masrawy quotes NDP Secretary General Hossam Badrawy saying that Mubarak did not want to stay in power, but he did so in order to ensure a peaceful transition.
[2:45 p.m. (EST)] Masrawy quotes long-time Mubarak advisor and aide Mustafa Al-Fiqi, who says that the army’s actions are “preemptive” in anticipation of greater unrest and civil disobedience. Fiqi says Mubarak faces two choices: (1) the constitutional route, which would result in transferring presidential powers to VP Omar Suleiman; or (2) the revolutionary route: acknowledging the legitimacy of the revolution through handing over power to the army.
[2:54 p.m. (EST)] Muslim Brotherhood ranking member Essam El-Eryan told Reuters that the Brotherhood fears a military coup. "This looks like a military coup. I feel worried. The problem is not with the president, it is with the regime." [translated from www.youm7.com]
[3:18 p.m. (EST)] Mubarak`s speech is 30 years and 18 minutes late.
[3:28 p.m. (EST)] Al-Jazeera: Nearly 3 million protestors in Tahrir Square and nearby squares and bridges.
[4:06 p.m. (EST)] Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak delivers televised address, proposes constitutional amendments. Mubarak made no reference to stepping down.
The struggle continues...
[8:00 p.m. (EST). By Bassam Haddad] Reports of 2,000 to 3,000 thousand protesters made their way to Qasr al-`Uroubah (Presidential Palace) in Masr al-Gididah; and more than 10,000 protesters have set up another protest point around the official Egyptian television station. Footage of the protesters in these areas are currently available on various television stations, on al-Jazeera and beyond. Protesters are gearing up for an escalated response from the authorities, but maintain their commitment to peaceful demonstration.
[1:07 a.m. (EST) by Hesham] Yom7 news site reports that the army gave some protestors at Qasr al-`Uroubah a ride back to Tahrir Square, while other protestors refused the offer and chose to spend the night by the presidential palace.
[1:20 a.m. (EST) by Hesham] “We are all Khaled Said” facebook group administrator: I really don’t want to sacrifice the blood of the martyrs [dead protestors] but at the same time I want to save the blood of Egyptians…We have really achieved substantive political gains in a short period of time, but the demand of the striking youth for [Mubarak’s] stepping down has not been met…For the first time I feel like I cannot reach a decision.”
Approximately one hour later, the administrator (presumably Wael Ghoneim) asked the members to share their feelings about the political gains that the protests have attained and the future of the protests. As of 1:20 a.m. 43,823 members tagged comments to this post. “We are all Khaled Said” facebook group has reportedly been instrumental in mobilizing protestors since January 25.
[1:29 a.m. (EST) by Hesham] Al-Masry Al-Youm: Egyptian government announces measures to grant full employment benefits to government contractors whose contracts exceeded 3 years.
[1:43 a.m. (EST) by Hesham]: Masrawy: Egyptian businessman and member of “the committee of the wise” Najib Sawiris says to Al-Arabiya that he is satisfied with the political gains that the protests have achieved and calls on the youth who feel persuaded by Mubarak’s speech to leave Tahrir Square.