Shadowproof

Who Owns Egypt Tonight? The People or the Dictator?

We are all Khaled Said asks:

Very strange situation: The people control all streets & the president controls his palace. Who owns the country? it’s people or the self-appointed dictator?

How this question is answered over the coming days is not yet at all clear. A major march “of millions” announced for Tuesday, the protesters remain in Tahrir Square and in the streets of Alexandria and other cities. Groups of them are going out into the neighborhoods to organize security watches while others are organizing in the Square. here’s some of the news via twitter:

@Amatoun
Farmer on Aljaz: “our youth rose, are cleaning the streets, mounting neighborhood watches, they’re the our future” #Jan25

@manal
by lizohanesian
protestors in Tahrir square are making poetry reading circles, standup comedies, singing & dancing #jan25

A new source, Live News Feed From Egypt, is receiving reports from activists in Egypt by phone and translating them. Their latest from an activist Olaa Shahin in Tahrir Square:

We thank everyone outside of Egypt for their continued support. We will continue our protests at Tahrir Sq until we achieve our victory. We will organize a civil movement on Tuesday afternoon – this will involve a larger number – millions of protesters…

Tahrir Sq witnessed youth gatherings of all protesting parties, including the new communist party, liberal party, 6th of April Movement, Muslim Brotherhood and other individual activists, to discuss next steps. Educational sessions will be organized in the presence of a number of poets, artists and actors are also present. The gathering will also be in recognition of the continued protests for 7 days.

We were 500, now thousands are joining the protests. None of the protesting civilians could ask the people to withdraw from the streets of Cairo. No one can deprive us from this revolution and the coming victories. The people of Egypt have strong willpower.

What started as a civil protest is now a freedom revolution. We either strive to reach our victories or die trying

The issue with security is exaggerated, the current situation at Tahrir Sq is very peaceful in contrast to what is aired on tv. A majority of the looters and criminals seem to have been officers. These people are trying to get in the way of the goals of this revolution

A message to the Arab World: Go to the streets and chant for the end of this regime.

We urge news agencies to take the necessary precautions when reporting news – (validity and objectivity is key)


From the Guardian’s live blog:

Human Rights Watch’s Egypt researcher, Heba Fatma Morayef, says the mood in Tahrir Square is orderly and cooperative:

The square has emptied out since the afternoon but it’s still a great atmosphere, a sense of solidarity, and very well-behaved – people are sitting around bonfires, or walking around picking up rubbish. Crowds who find occasional looters drag them over to the soldiers and hand them over. And no sexual harassment – which is not the norm downtown, especially when there are big groups gathering! We’re happy to be eating koshary – thank goodness vendors are still selling street food because we’re starving.

Also from the Guardian live blog, we get word of what Obama has been doing today:

A White House statement details President Obama’s round of phone calls to foreign leaders in Turkey, Israel Saudi Arabia and the UK:

Today, he spoke to prime minister Cameron of the United Kingdom. During his calls, the president reiterated his focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, association, and speech; and supporting an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

The president asked each of the leaders that he spoke to for their assessment of the situation, and agreed to stay in close contact going forward.

How interesting to see which countries Obama chose to speak with, eh? But, as you can see from the video above, for protesters in the streets, this is pretty weak tea.

Meanwhile there’s been political movement amongst the opposition in Egypt. Clearly interested in offering a way to a transition, these efforts are looking for ways to represent the grassroots revolution. In a phone interview, Ayman Nour , chairman of the El Ghad party announced in a phone interview that a committee of 10 opposition party leaders has been formed. This committee includes Mohammed ElBaradei as well as a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Nour was an independent member of Parliament and formed the El Ghad party in 2004 to:

represent a liberal democratic perspective, with a strong interest in human rights issues. Nour used the party as a platform to call for constitutional reform, limiting the president’s powers and opening presidential elections to multiple candidates.

Nour was arrested in 2005 and tortured then released after international pressure long enough to run for the Presidency against Mubarak. He ran second to Mubarak, and was then sentenced to five years in jail but released in 2009 due to his fragile health

Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation in London, spoke this afternoon with Al Jazeera. Nawaz was jailed by Mubarak along with Nour. He described the committee’s effort as offering to negotiate a transition on behalf of “the youth in the square” but refusing to negotiate any issue with Mubarak except his departure.

He went on to say that they will negotiate with the military on issues of security and organize a transitional unity government including all parties except Mubarak’s NDP. “They are asking the military to take the side of the people, not to have a coup.”

Naavaz said as well that:

If Washington wants a stable Egypt, they will have to come around. Ayman Nour is sensible and these men can take control in a way Mubarak no longer can.

Finally, in perhaps the best tweet of the day, Ben Wedeman of CNN wrote:

bencnn
In last 5 days haven’t seen any major expressions of political Islam. It’s not there, armchair “terrorism” experts. Move on. #Jan25 #Egypt

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