Hosni Mubarak has sacked his cabinet in a speech designed to quell the massive unrest in Egypt.
The speech was the first public announcement by the President since the start of the protests on January 25th. Appearing tired and uneasy Mubarak said that Egyptians would not be able to protest like they had, had it not been for the freedom of speech allowed in the country, a statement belied by the distressing scenes appearing from the protests.
The speech had remarkable similarities to that of the deposed Tunisian Premier Ben Ali, given a few days before he fled to Saudi Arabia. Many commentators and protesters are pointing out that these could be the last few days of Mubarak’s 30 year rule.
The reaction of the, predominantly young, protesters gathered in the streets of Cairo and many other Egyptian cities seems quite clear, they started shouting louder as soon as Mubarak made his apparent concession. The curfew is also being openly flaunted, with cars driving up and down the Nile Corniche past army tanks. The army’s reaction over the next few days will be crucial to whether this uprising becomes a revolution. If they refuse to attack protesters, like the Tunisian army, then it could be the end for Mubarak and the NDP, and the flames burning at their headquarters on the Nile could be a sign of the future for the old guard of Egyptian politics.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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