Protesters fill Tahrir Square pushing for Day of Departure
Thousands of people have filled Tahrir Square in Cairo pushing for a “Day of Departure” for Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak, the long serving president of Egypt, has said he will not run for re-election in September of this year. His promise to leave office has only intensified the protests against his rule.
Protests begin anew in Tahrir Square after violent clashes
Tahrir Square in Cairo has been plunged into chaos over the last few days, as protests against the government of President Hosni Mubarak have been met with retaliatory attacks from Mubarak supporters. After several days of violent clashes, thousands of anti-government protesters have filled the area, pushing for Mubarak to leave at once. They are demanding a “Day of Departure” or alternately “Friday of Departure,” according to NPR. President Mubarak had previously made the concession that he would not seek re-election in September, but protesters are adamant that Mubarak must leave immediately. There is a growing chorus of calls for Mubarak to leave office immediately from the international community as well.
Mubarak supporters infiltrate protest area
Tahrir Square is currently cordoned off by the Egyptian army and largely filled with anti-government protesters. However, pro-Mubarak protesters have infiltrated the area for the past few days, which has led to violent clashes. During the prolonged clashes, journalists were singled out by Mubarak supporters, according to the Christian Science Monitor. More than 100 incidents of physical assault occurred, including an incident where CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was beaten and threatened with further harm while fleeing the scene. Foreign and domestic journalists have been in harm’s way, as the Cairo offices of Al-Jazeera were stormed by pro-Mubarak “thugs.”
Mubarak’s defiant stance
From the beginning of the protests, President Mubarak has been defiant about leaving. He has been in office for nearly 30 years, but a full democratic election confirming him to office has never taken place. In a recent interview, he said that he was tired of public service but claimed that “there will be chaos” and “the Muslim Brotherhood will take over” if he leaves immediately, according to MSNBC. He has invited leaders of opposition groups to begin talks to possibly create a transitional government.