Clashes in Egypt Between Protesters and Supporters of Mubarak
Egypt is near civil war after the announcement made by President Hosni Mubarak late on Tuesday on national television that he would not run for another term in office in the autumn and that he would continue to ensure the transition to democracy until the new elections are held.
In a very mysterious way the streets of Cairo were filled on Wednesday morning with Mubarak supporters who engaged those who had been protesting against the president for nine days.
Their appearance seems to change the impression on what came to be seen as the “Egyptian revolution,” given that so far the idea that Mubarak is hated by his entire nation had been conveyed on international media, especially since his supporters have not voiced their opinion during the last few days.
Sky News reports that even gunshots were heard in the Tahrir Square, while the military, who has kept neutrality so far, called for an end to this massive demonstration.
The two sides engaged in throwing rocks and pieces of cement at each other, and at 3 p.m. dozens of supporters of Mubarak came riding horses and camels and stormed into the square beating up anti-governmental protesters with whips.
Some people interviewed said that they were not paid by anybody to come in president’s defense, and uttered that he was the only honest man in the country.
Protesters told Reuters that some of the supporters of Mubarak were members of the political police dressed in plain clothing.
Some of them affirmed that after Mubarak’s speech last night the demonstration should have come to an end, and that this is why they decided to take it to streets.
An official reaction of the Egyptian authorities came today, stressing that the immediate transition is out of the question.
By that, they are responding to the president of the United States, who had overtly asked on Monday the president of Egypt to stand down and let transition begin now.
A similar message was also conveyed by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, who said that it was not enough for Mubarak to stand down in September and that the transition should begin right now.
“The people of Egypt expected a very different decision,” Erdogan said, and his words were echoed by those of the European Union leaders who want the transition in Egypt to come as soon as possible.
In a statement that was released by the Muslim Brotherhood, the most serious opposition group in Egypt, on Wednesday it is said that the idea of Mubarak remaining in office until September was unacceptable.
The only government that does not encourage the ouster of Mubarak is Israel, who fears that after Mubarak’s era Egypt could fall under Islamist rule, becoming a new Iran.
Meanwhile, the military is taking position in an attempt to separate the two sides, while tear gas is being fired.
Reports say that Mubarak’s supporters are more violent and in greater numbers, attempting to occupy the Tahrir Square.
The urest in Egypt is taking a very strange turn, and on its outcome it could depend the entire change wave that started in Tunis and engulfed the entire Arab world.11