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Mubarak to announce new cabinet in bid to quell protests

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-01-29

Embattled President Hosni Mubarak announced plans to form a new government on Saturday in a televised speech late Friday after days of major protests across Egypt. Take a look back at FRANCE 24's coverage of the day's unrest.

Following days of violent clashes between protesters and police, embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced on state TV Friday night that he has asked his cabinet to resign and that a new government would be formed Saturday. It was Mubarak’s first appearance since the protests erupted on Tuesday, with demonstrators taking to the streets to call for his resignation.

Mubarak said that he would continue to pursue social, economic and political reform. He also called the anti-government movement that has spread throughout the country like wildfire - following a similar uprising in Tunisia - part of a plot to destabilise Egypt and undermine his legitimacy as leader.

Late Friday evening, thousands of Egyptian protesters defied an overnight curfew, flooding the streets and calling for Mubarak to step down. The army was sent into the city to quell the unrest.

Cairo a ‘battlefield’

A FRANCE 24 correspondent on the scene in Cairo described the city as a “battlefield”. “In response to rocks being thrown and slogans shouted, police have been firing tear gas at the protesters”, the correspondent reported. “Clouds of smoke, a sort of mix of burnt tyres and tear gas, cover the Cairo sky”.

The clashes, which according to Egyptian medical sources and news agencies resulted in several hundred injuries and 13 deaths, began early in the day following morning prayers with police violently confronting street protesters. Protesters, described by FRANCE 24 correspondent Gallagher Fenwick as “disorganised” but “determined”, fought back against police.

In the city of Suez, protesters took over a police station, taking weapons and lighting security vehicles on fire. At one point, protesters set fire to the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) in Cairo, and state TV broadcast images of the building on fire.

The curfew ordered by Mubarak in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez appeared to be ignored, as the clashes in the cities continued into the evening.

Egypt's national carrier on Friday temporarily suspended its flights from the capital, while international airlines scrambled to readjust their schedules to accommodate a curfew.

The protests that began Tuesday are inspired by the recent anti-government in Tunisia that resulted in the ouster of former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The unrest in Egypt sent shock waves throughout the world. Pro-democracy activists organised rallies across the globe to support the Egyptian and Tunisian protesters.

US President Barack Obama reacted shortly after Mubarak's speech. Obama urged the Egyptian president, a  longstanding  US ally,  to keep his promises to work toward greater democracy and greater economic opportunity for his people.


Date created : 2011-01-29


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