See also:
» 06.03.2013 - Egypt court suspends planned election date
» 25.02.2013 - Opposition to boycott another Egypt election?
» 24.03.2011 - Still double standards in Egypt justice
» 10.02.2011 - Wave of strikes could bring Mubarak down
» 09.02.2011 - Outside Cairo, Egypt protests get nasty
» 06.04.2009 - Police deployed to foil strike
» 18.02.2009 - Pharmacists suspend strike as negotiations continue
» 17.02.2009 - Egypt truckers strike enters fourth day

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Labour | Politics

Friday is D-day for Mubarak regime

Protesters gathering in front of Egypt's state TV building

© Ramy Raoof/afrol News
afrol News, 11 February
- Egyptian protesters agree that President Mubarak's disappointing speech has unified the nation in anger against the regime. They call for 20 million protesters on Friday, with marches against the presidential palace.

The two televised speeches by President Hosni Mubarak and Vice-President Omar Suleiman on Thursday evening took the Egyptian protesters from grand expectations to anger and to rage. Spontaneous marches went from central Cairo's protest camp at Tahrir Square to the nearby building of state TV, to "include it in the liberated zone."

Around thousand protesters even dared marching towards the Heliopolis presidential palace, in Heliopolis, far away from central Cairo. Most however were firmly stopped by the army at Orouba, around half-way to Heliopolis, forced to return to protesters' base at Tahrir Square.

A few hundreds however reached the palace, without meeting significant resistance. In front of the presidential palace, the protesters established a new camp to spend the night there. Soon, hundreds and hundreds started to arrive the camp, erected to encourage more protesters to come during Friday - now referred to as "D-day" for the Mubarak regime.

Meanwhile, at central Tahrir Square, the masses after a while started chanting "Tomorrow, tomorrow"! Plans were being discussed how to make the best out of the Friday to increase pressure on the Mubarak regime.

Protesters issued a call to Egyptians for 20 million to take the streets around the country on Friday, in connection with the prayers. So far, the cal

Revolutionaries in Tahrir Square celebrate their victories

© Hossam el-Hamalawy/afrol News
ls for millions to march have been more than fulfilled by the population.

Indeed, with trade unions joining the mass protests on Wednesday, a new dynamic was sparked in the Egyptian revolution, forcing President Mubarak to make his Thursday speech. Strikes were starting to paralyse the rest of Egypt's functional economic sectors, spreading to key industries and to cities and towns all over the country, including locations that had not experienced earlier protests.

The speech by President Mubarak, and the later call by Vice-President Suleiman for workers to go back to work, had the opposite function. The message on state TV, even showing the masses protesting at Tahrir Square for the first time, rather infuriated Egyptians, motivating further groups to join the strikes and protests.

Key sectors are targeted for Friday. There are more and more calls for workers at the Suez Canal administration to join the strike, which would put massive pressure on government as key revenues would stop reaching state coffers and international trade would be struck hardly.

Masses are expected to become massive all over Egypt during Friday, as the grip of fear is finally being removed also in smaller cities and towns. But especially in Cairo, the Friday march is expected to again break records. On Thursday, an estimated 3

Egypt's Vice-President Omar Suleiman speaking on state TV on 10 February 2011

© Egypt state TV/afrol News
million took to the streets in Cairo.

While the protests so far have been peaceful - on part of the protesters - in Cairo and Alexandria, the Thursday answer by President Mubarak - seen as an unacceptable show of arrogance - has brought the crowds somewhat out of control. Last Friday, the masses finally decided not to march towards the presidential palace in Heliopolis, not to provoke more losses of lives.

This Friday, protesters know they will have to show off a greater demonstration of power - more than "only" the numbers of protesters. Discussions on Tahrir Square are ongoing regarding what would be the best solution. Among those staying the night at Tahrir - more than ever this night - the overwhelming majority is calling for a storm of the presidential palace.

While it is not sure that the great masses turning out in Cairo streets on Friday will join the march against the Heliopolis palace - located 15 kilometres from Tahrir - large groups of protesters will head towards Heliopolis or any other headquarter of government power in Cairo.

The large question is how the army - or even worse, the presidential guard - will react to the protesters challenging the regime's headquarters. The regular army, most expect, will not shoot at protesters. But the presidential guard ... that question remains open.

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