Massive Protests in Egypt Enter Seventh Day; General Strike Called

31.01.2011 - El Cairo - Democracy Now!

An estimated 150 protesters have been killed and thousands have been injured over the past week.

**ElBaradei Joins Street Protests, Calls for End of Mubarak Regime**

On Sunday, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei joined protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo. The former head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency called for Mubarak’s ouster.

Mohamed ElBaradei: *”Today, as Egyptians, you have taken back your rights to life and freedom. What has begun cannot go back. As we said earlier, we have one main demand: the end of the regime and the beginning of a new stage.”*

Several Egyptian opposition movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have expressed support for ElBaradei to negotiate with the Mubarak government.

**Hillary Clinton Stresses “Orderly Transition” in Egypt**

On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for an orderly transition to a democratic government in Egypt. But she refused to publicly urge President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Hillary Clinton: *”Any efforts by this government to respond to the needs of their people, to take steps that will result in a peaceful orderly transition to a democratic regime, is what is in the best interests of everyone including the current government.”*

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has predicted that Mubarak will have to resign because *”the people have decided.”* Carter, who brokered the existing peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, said, *”This is the most profound situation in the Middle East since I left office.”*

**Israel Urges U.S. & Europe to Mute Criticism of Mubarak**

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports Israeli diplomats are urging the United States and European nations to mute criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the Middle East.
New Egyptian VP Tied to CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program

In response to the massive street protests, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has sworn in a new cabinet and named former Air Force commander Ahmed Shafiq to be prime minister, and Omar Suleiman to be vice president, a position that has been unfilled for three decades. Suleiman is Egypt’s former intelligence chief. He has close ties to Washington and played a key role in the U.S. extraordinary rendition program.

**Egypt Attempts to Silence Al Jazeera; Cuts Off Internet & Cell Phones**

The Hosni Mubarak government has also intensified its efforts to silence critics of the regime. In addition to shutting down Internet and mobile phone communications across the country, Egyptian authorities closed Al Jazeera’s Egyptian office and removed the news station from a main satellite operator. Six Al Jazeera journalists were arrested earlier today in Cairo and had their equipment seized.

Mustafa Souag, Al Jazeera’s news director: *”This is going to make it a little bit more difficult for our journalists to work, of course. I mean, the foreclosure of our office in Egypt is the latest in a series of moves by the Egyptian authorities trying to silence Al Jazeera as a way to prevent its citizens and the rest of the world from knowing what’s going on.”*

**Protests Spread to Jordan, Yemen and Sudan**

The protests in Egypt have had reverberations across the Arab world. Over the weekend, demonstrators took to the streets in Jordan, Yemen and Sudan. In Jordan, activists demonstrated near the prime minister’s office in Amman.

Saed Darwazeh: *”We are asking to do major changes in the political and economical system in Jordan, on top of that, to change the current government as they are responsible for increasing the poverty, the unemployment rate and all the economical situation currently in Jordan. People are suffering more and more, and the economical situation is going down the drain.”*

In Yemen, nine protesters were injured by police on Saturday as they attempted to march to the Egyptian embassy in Sana’a.

**Sudanese Police Kill Student Protester**

In Sudan, police have beaten and tear-gassed student protesters in the capital city Khartoum. At least one student reportedly has died. Earlier today, police surrounded universities in Khartoum and other cities in an effort to prevent more anti-government protests.

Categories: International, Middle East, Politics

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