Egyptian President Transfers Power, Refuses to Step Down
The announcement came after more than two weeks of sometimes-violent protests as crowds continued to gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square — also referred to as Liberation Square — to demand his resignation.
Despite speculation that he might step down today, President Mubarak insisted that he would stay in office until proper elections occur in September. He did promise to appoint committees to investigate claims of corruption.
Protests began Jan. 25 following unrest in nearby Tunisia. Since then, crowds have grown almost every day in protest of President Mubarak continuing his nearly 30-year rule. Protesters have called for governmental reforms, better pay and lower unemployment. The uprising in Egypt has also caused reforms in other autocratic Middle Eastern countries.
Feb. 1 was called the “March of Millions” as protesters all over Egypt joined in the uprising. As many as 500,000 Egyptians marched in Cairo alone and were joined by hundreds of thousands more across the country. There were reports that some looting had taken place at the world-famous Cairo Museum, however protesters formed a human chain around the building to protect its priceless artifacts.
The protests have been seen as a youth revolution and were coordinated through social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. Even families with children have come to voice their opposition of the president.
There was some speculation last week that pro-Mubarak supporters caused violence in Tahrir Square against peaceful protesters.
This week marked some transition back to normalcy for a portion of Egyptians as banks and other offices began to reopen; however protesters continue to camp in Tahrir Square.
The United States government has supported President Mubarak and his administration for three decades. Suleiman is also a strong American ally and has been in contact with Vice President Joe Biden almost daily.