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  • Thursday ,03 February 2011

Curfew eased; Egyptian protesters defiant

By-Tamer Mohamed-The Gazette Online

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Thursday ,03 February 2011

Curfew eased; Egyptian protesters defiant

CAIRO - The Egyptian military Wednesday called for an end to more than a week of demonstrations after President Hosni Mubarak said he would not seek a new term in office in September after nearly 30 years in power.

"Your message has arrived, your demands became known. You are capable of bringing normal life to Egypt," Ismail Etman, a military spokesman, said on official TV, addressing protesters.
      The military statement came as a night-time curfew was eased, now running from 5pm to 7am instead of 3pm to 8am.
     Supporters of Mubarak, who took to the street Wednesday vowing their allegiance, clashed with opposition protesters after they marched into the anti-Mubarak rally in Tahrir Square in central Cairo, according to witnesses.
     "Yes to Mubarak to protect stability," said one of the placards carried by pro-Mubarak demonstrators who gathered near the headquarters of the State television, about one kilometre away from Al Tahrir Square, the epicentre of anti-Mubarak protests.
     "Yes to the President of peace and stability," and "those who love Egypt would not ruin it," read another placard, one day after the veteran President said he would not seek another term next September.
     Despite Mubarak's pledge, crowds were swelling in Cairo for a ninth day of protests trying to force Mubarak to quit.
     The movement, built on the work of online activists, is fuelled by deep frustration with the regime whom they blame for ignoring the needs of the poor and allowing corruption and official abuses to run rampant.
     "Protesters are resolved to hold massive demonstrations on Friday, dubbed 'Friday of Departure'," one of the organisers said, requesting anonymity for security reasons.
    The Army gave a tacit endorsement to the movement on Monday by saying it would not use force against protesters and that they had legitimate demands, a stance hailed by US President Barack Obama.
     "What is clear and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now," Obama said after speaking to Mubarak by telephone.
     Parliament suspended Egypt's bicameral Parliament, the People's Assembly and the Shura Council, were suspended until the contested results of elections held in late 2010 are revised, Speaker of the legislature Ahmed Fathi Sorour said.
     "The two houses of Parliament have decided to suspend their sessions indefinitely, until decisions are reached about the results of the elections held in November and December last year," Sorour said.
     He added, however, that the constitutional amendments of articles 76 and 77, ordered to be amended by the President as a move towards 'peaceful transition of power', would take around two months and a half.
      Both articles control measures to run for Egypt's top spot. The 2010 parliamentary elections were marred by violence as well as accusations of widespread fraud and vote-rigging.
     State services resume Banks will resume work next Sunday while petrol stations were back to work. Egypt Air, the national carrier, flew 46 domestic and international flights as of 10:00am Wednesday until 17:00pm as the Egyptian National Railways decided to operate trains nationwide “responding to people’s needs, with no definite schedule”.
      "Banks will be back to work on Sunday as security measures were taken to prevent any thugs from storming into them," a Central Bank official said.
      Bakeries and butane gas cylinder distribution centres were all back to work as long queues outside them were cut into half. However, most supermarkets, which were looted last Saturday, and Sunday remained shut.