Another huge protest in Cairo

The Egyptians are calling it "Day of Departure" for Mubarak but the hundreds of thousands in the streets and Tahrir Square will probably be disappointed by days end.

The army, unlike the last couple of days, seems determined to keep a lid on violence, mostly by preventing pro-Mubarak forces from gathering in the Square. The BBC:

Volunteers and soldiers are putting on a highly organised operation. They are searching everyone who enters the square to make sure they have no weapons. There is even a separate queue for women - I was patted down apologetically several times.The numbers have swelled again, with tens of thousands joining the crowd. There are shouts and whistles, and more cries of "Leave, leave Mubarak!" Despite all the government's concessions, the message remains unchanged.

After more fighting in the north of the square overnight, the mood is peaceful and there are more women and children here than in the past couple of days.

Instead, the bullies seem to have found another place to demonstrate:

Our correspondent says the mood is relaxed but it is not quite the carnival atmosphere that existed before Wednesday - when pro-Mubarak gangs attacked anti-government protesters - and people are watchful.

There were no signs of supporters of the president in the square on Friday, but about 2,000 are holding a demonstration in Mustafa Mahmoud square in the Mohandiseen district. A BBC correspondent says they are waving Egyptian flags and chanting "Yes to Mubarak, yes to stability".

Meanwhile, in Egypt's second city of Alexandria, there are also many more tanks and soldiers out on the streets there than before, reports the BBC's Wyre Davies.

The atmosphere ahead of Friday prayers and another big opposition demonstration was palpably tense and serious, our correspondent says.

A number of armed police - both in uniform and plain clothes - were seen near the main square. One was dragged away by a crowd of protesters, beaten up and bundled into a car.

The administration's efforts to get Mubarak to go have been futile:

"What they're asking cannot be done," one senior Egyptian official said, citing clauses in the Egyptian Constitution that bar the vice president from assuming power. Under the Constitution, the speaker of Parliament would succeed the president. "That's my technical answer," the official added. "My political answer is they should mind their own business." 

I'd call that a snub, wouldn't you?

Mubarak seems to be firming up his grip on power. The army is 100% behind him and the crisis seems to have ebbed a bit. If the international community bands together to deny aid to Egypt until Mubarak goes, that might get the military thinking about sending their president into exile.

But what are the chances of the international community being united in such an effort? Slim and none.





The Egyptians are calling it "Day of Departure" for Mubarak but the hundreds of thousands in the streets and Tahrir Square will probably be disappointed by days end.

The army, unlike the last couple of days, seems determined to keep a lid on violence, mostly by preventing pro-Mubarak forces from gathering in the Square. The BBC:

Volunteers and soldiers are putting on a highly organised operation. They are searching everyone who enters the square to make sure they have no weapons. There is even a separate queue for women - I was patted down apologetically several times.

The numbers have swelled again, with tens of thousands joining the crowd. There are shouts and whistles, and more cries of "Leave, leave Mubarak!" Despite all the government's concessions, the message remains unchanged.

After more fighting in the north of the square overnight, the mood is peaceful and there are more women and children here than in the past couple of days.

Instead, the bullies seem to have found another place to demonstrate:

Our correspondent says the mood is relaxed but it is not quite the carnival atmosphere that existed before Wednesday - when pro-Mubarak gangs attacked anti-government protesters - and people are watchful.

There were no signs of supporters of the president in the square on Friday, but about 2,000 are holding a demonstration in Mustafa Mahmoud square in the Mohandiseen district. A BBC correspondent says they are waving Egyptian flags and chanting "Yes to Mubarak, yes to stability".

Meanwhile, in Egypt's second city of Alexandria, there are also many more tanks and soldiers out on the streets there than before, reports the BBC's Wyre Davies.

The atmosphere ahead of Friday prayers and another big opposition demonstration was palpably tense and serious, our correspondent says.

A number of armed police - both in uniform and plain clothes - were seen near the main square. One was dragged away by a crowd of protesters, beaten up and bundled into a car.

The administration's efforts to get Mubarak to go have been futile:

"What they're asking cannot be done," one senior Egyptian official said, citing clauses in the Egyptian Constitution that bar the vice president from assuming power. Under the Constitution, the speaker of Parliament would succeed the president. "That's my technical answer," the official added. "My political answer is they should mind their own business." 

I'd call that a snub, wouldn't you?

Mubarak seems to be firming up his grip on power. The army is 100% behind him and the crisis seems to have ebbed a bit. If the international community bands together to deny aid to Egypt until Mubarak goes, that might get the military thinking about sending their president into exile.

But what are the chances of the international community being united in such an effort? Slim and none.





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