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Africa

Top dissident ElBaradei says President Mubarak must go

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2011-01-29

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Egyptian Nobel peace prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei says protests will continue to intensify across the country so long as President Hosni Mubarak refuses to step down.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "must go," the prominent Egyptian dissident Mohamed ElBaradei told France 24 on Saturday from Cairo.

ElBaradei said there was a "consensus" in Egypt that the current regime was "dictatorial" and had "failed to deliver on economic, social or political fronts".

"President Mubarak did not understand the message of the Egyptian people," ElBaradei said. "His speech was totally disappointing. The protests will continue with even more intensity until the Mubarak regime falls".

The former chief of the UN nuclear watchdog returned to Cairo from Vienna in time to join massive protests across Egypt on Friday, which shook the world's most populous Arab nation and prompted Mubarak in a speech early Saturday to promise reforms and a cabinet reshuffle.

The president ordered troops and tanks into Cairo and other cities overnight and imposed a curfew, which was widely flouted by protesters.

There have been no official casualty figures, but according to a Reuters tally at least 74 people have been killed since the start of the unrest on Tuesday.

Despite the deaths, opposition leaders have vowed to press on with protests until Mubarak quits.

"I will go back into the streets today (Saturday) with my colleagues to contribute to bring change... and to tell President Mubarak that he must go", ElBaradei said.

The Nobel laureate said he expected the protests to escalate in the coming days, predicting that the Egyptian army would eventually side with the people. "The army never clashes with the Egyptian people, so I hope [Mubarak] will understand the message before things get ugly", he said.


 

Date created : 2011-01-29

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