Tahrir Square Protestors Cheering: Egypt’s Mubarak to Speak Soon, Relinquish Power
Rumors are flying around very fast from Egypt today and loud cheers are erupting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as it appears there may be a major new developments.
From broadcast sources:
According to the New York Times a few minutes ago, the BBC World Service reported that new Egyptian president said that scenarios of Mubarak leabing were being considered and then went on to report that Mubarak would address the nation tonight:
Lyse Doucet, a BBC correspondent in Cairo, reports on Twitter that she has just spoken with Hossam Badrawy, the secretary-general of the Mubarak regime’s National Democratic Party, and he said that Mr. Mubarak will “probably” speak tonight and he “hopes” that the president will hand over his powers to his vice president, Omar Suleiman. Ms. Doucet added that Dr. Badrawy, “confirmed it’s being discussed.”
Al Jazeera is reporting that Egypt’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces is in “meeting to study it’s position in this crisis” and according to sources, heard of the army is expected to issue a statement to the protesters that “all your demands will be met.” An Egyptian officer told Al Jazeera that “they are awaiting orders that would make the protesters happy.” And the spokesperson for the Supreme Council just appeared on Egyptian state TV to say:
The same Supreme Council has just issued a statement saying that it will “Continue to convene to discuss the measures and procedures to be taken to protect the homeland and the interests of the people.”
While this statement says little, the very fact that the Supreme Council issues such a statement means that big news is coming.
And the Al Jazeera-English liveblog reports:
5:23pm: NDP Secretary General Hossam Badrawi says he expects Mubarak to respond to the demands of the people before Friday. An official statement from the military is imminent.
5:20pm: A senior military commander is reported to have told protesters that all their demands will be met, but no official confirmation is yet available.
The immense crowd in Tahrir is cheering louder and louder – and clearly feels that something is about to change. Of course, Mubarak’s removal is not the protesters sole demand and we’ll have to wait and see if he does leave – and if the other demands are met for full regime change.
It’s important to remember that the demands from Tahrir are not simply that Mubarak step down. While some may accept a Suleiman presidency (or transitional presidency) others are very clear that the whole regime must go, not only Mubarak.
And now there are new reports that the Army has stepped in at the same time that Mubarak was rumored to be handing power to Suleiman. From Al Ahram English – remember that we’re in a very fluid moment and rumors are not confirmed:
The just released Statement #1 of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, announcing that the Council will remain in an open-ended session, in order to safeguard “the people’s achievements and demands”, is being interpreted widely as indicating that the Egyptian army has effectively seized political power in the country. A senior field commander gave Ahram Online’s correspondent in Tahrir sq his own interpretation of the statement. According to the senior army officer who preferred anonimity, the Supreme Council is about to announce, in statement #2, that it has taken over authority in the country, for an interim period, the duration of which is to be determined later.
Asked about what such a step might mean for the president, the vice-president and the prime minister, the armed forces commander said “these are people who have no power over the of the armed forces.”
Update: MSNBC says it can confirm that Hosni Mubarak will indeed deliver a speech tonight. Al Aribiya is reporting that Mubarak has relocated to Sharm el-Sheikh with his army chief of staff.