Egypt Protest Reignites -- U.S. Tightens Demands On Mubarak
As a crowd of literally hundreds of thousands assembled forcefully, but peacefully, to continue the demand that Mubarak cede power, the U.S. government stepped up its own pressure by demanding the Egyptian government immediately lift its 30 year old "state of emergency." The emegrency act, in effect since Mubarak took power in 1981, gives the state authoritarian police power.
As Reuters reports:
The United States on Tuesday set out four steps Cairo must take to end Egypt's crisis, telling its ally to stop harassing protesters and immediately repeal an emergency law allowing detention without charge.
The Obama administration appears worried President Hosni Mubarak's government will not make meaningful changes in the largest Arab nation, a strategic U.S. partner due to its peace treaty with Israel and control of the Suez Canal.
The steps, conveyed by Vice President Joe Biden to Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, appeared to rebuff the former intelligence chief who is negotiating with opposition figures seeking Mubarak's immediate departure after 30 years in power.
Mewanhile. the protest movement which seemed to be faltering in the past few days, roared back to life as Tahrir Square has been turned into something of a mass tent city. The protesters seem as determined to wait out Mubarak as he seems determined to cling to power.
There is even an internet campaign aimed at mobilising thousands of expatriates to return and support the uprising, our sorrespondent said.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief, said on Tuesday that genuine dialogue was needed to end the current crisis, and that a peaceful transition was crucial.
"The Egyptian people are clearly frustrated, and are calling for bold reforms. It is incumbent on the Egyptian leadership - and that of any other country in the world - to listen attentively to the legitimate concerns and aspirations of their people," he said.
In Cairo, protesters marched to the parliament buildings, camping out and demanding the assembly's immediate dissolution.
The newcomers who joined Cairo's protesters said they had been inspired in part by the release of Wael Ghonim, the Google executive, previously held by state security authorities.
Another massive protest is scheduled for Friday, the traditional day in the Arab world for big demonstrations.
Mubarak, meanwhile, is said to have amassed a family fortune of some $70b.