- North Africa
- Demonstration - Governance
Egypt: Bloody day of rage warned
The revolution in Egypt is expected to get vicious as Egyptians vow to raid the presidential palace to forcefully oust President Hosni Mubarak who has opted to cling unto power amidst calls for him to step-down. Violence is expected to break out as the army may have to defend the presidential palace by force. Friday has already been declared a "day of rage".
The 82-year-old dictator shocked Egyptians and the international community in a televised speech when he refrained from stepping down and rather delegated presidential power to Vice President Omar Suleiman.
Mubarak’s speech was met with angry chants of "Down, Down with Mubarak" among the more than 200,000 people who packed Cairo’s Tahrir Square on the 17th day of massive nationwide protests.
Some Egyptians say Mubarak’s delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman while he [Mubarak] remains in power only means Egypt now has two dictators.
Egyptians as well as the international community was hopeful that Mubarak would step down immediately after the military leadership had announced hours earlier that it would intervene to ensure the country’s security and see that the people’s "legitimate" demands were met.
The embattled dictator said he would remain in charge until September; he would not seek exile but remain and one day die in Egypt.
The rage at Mubarak’s indifference was palpable across Cairo, reporters on the ground revealed.
"We won’t leave until he leaves. I don’t think it’s stupidity, it’s arrogance. He lost his last chance to leave with his dignity intact," a 32-year-old accountant Ayman Shawky was quoted by AP as saying.
An immediate general strike was called by the protesters on Thursday who also addressed the army, which had deployed large numbers of troops and tanks around the square: "Egyptian army, the choice is now, the regime or the people!"
"To the palace we are heading, martyrs by the millions!" they shouted.
Violence is expected to break out as the army may have to defend the presidential palace by force, some analysts have said.
Canada warned that the anger in Egypt could lead to violence and extremism as it presses democratic reforms
"While the need for democratic reforms is pressing, reform should not result in a vacuum that could result in extremism, violence or intolerance," Canadian Forign Ministr Lawrence Cannon said in a statement.
Democratic leader Mohamed ElBaradei warned that Egypt would "explode" and called on the army to "save the country," in a message posted on the micro-blogging website Twitter
US President Barack Obama called an emergency meeting of his national security team.