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French press leading on Mubarak "under siege"

FRENCH PAPERS, Wed., 2/2/2011: French papers all lead on the massive demonstration in Egypt yesterday calling for Hosni Mubarak to leave power. Mubarak is “under siege” according to Le Figaro while Libération focuses on the dignified and calm nature of the protest.

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For Le Figaro, Hosni Mubarak is “under siege”. The paper’s editorial says Obama is being careful not to repeat the mistakes of Jimmy Carter who supported the Shah in Iran “until the very end”, throughout the Iran hostage crisis and thus lost the election in 1980 to Ronald Reagan.
 
Libération focuses on the dignified nature of the demonstration in Egypt yesterday which saw between one and two million people take to the streets.
 
“Yesterday’s dignified protest was a democratic act in a country that is not yet democratic.”
 
“The naysayers warn of barbarians and an Islamic Revolution but for now, these people are the very picture of dignity and of rediscovered pride.”
 
Communist paper l’Humanité leads with the headline, “Once upon a time there was a revolution”
 
Its editorial notes: “History is happening before our very eyes…
Only two weeks have gone by since the Tunisians forced their President into exile - it already seems like an old story.”
 
“Now the human waves of protest in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez are forcing Mubarak towards the exit.”
 
 
Catholic paper La Croix leads with a striking photo of a protester with the words “Go” and “Out” written on each hand.
“The crowds were all the more numerous as they felt protected by the army,” says the editorial.
 
“In Egypt, just as in Tunisia two weeks ago, the army hierarchy took the pulse of the population and saw the rising fever amongst them...One hopes that this link between the army and the nation will continue in support of the civilian authority, not in substitution of it.”
 
The satirical weekly paper Le Canard Enchaîné reveals that French Foreign Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie was treated to some privileges while on holidays in Tunisia over the New Year. She accepted a flight on the private jet of Aziz Miled, a close to deposed Tunisian President Ben Ali. Miled owns the Nouvelair airline.
 
Alliot-Marie admits accepting Miled’s offer but insists he is not a close friend of the Ben Ali clan. Indeed her office points out that the former First Lady’s family, the Trabelsis, took over 20% of the Nouvelair airline in strong-arm tactics…hardly endearing the Ben Ali’s broader family to Mr. Miled.
 
We also took a look at coverage in Le Monde of the Ben Ali clan’s luxurious property holdings in Paris. In 2006, the former First Lady, Leila Ben Ali, apparently requested the Tunisian ambassador vacate his official apartments in the 7th arrondissement, preferring the accommodation to be used by the first family on trips to the French capital.

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