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Over a million people took to the streets of Cairo on Tuesday to demand the end of Hosni Mubarak’s administration, in the largest mobilization in the eighth consecutive day of protests in the country.
After thirty years of an authoritarian government, the protests taking place in several Egyptian cities –mainly Cairo- seem to mark the end of Mubarak’s regime. Mohamed El Baradei, leader of the opposition and Nobel Peace Prize winner exhorted Mubarak to leave power by Friday.
El Baradei, former Chief of UN’s atomic agency, stated in an interview with Arab network Al Arabiya that dialogue and a way out of this conflict can only take place if Mubarak leaves power.
The demonstrations included the crowd hanging an effigy of the questioned Egyptian President, while demonstrators stated that they will not accept Mubarak or any other member of his administration to continue in office.
“We always wanted to speak out and demonstrate, but we lived with fear. Now we are all united, Christians and Muslims”, stated one of the demonstrators to Al Jazeera.
While the Egyptian army stated that they wouldn’t use violence against demonstrators, UN figures estimate that 300 people have died in the eight days of protest, and three thousand people were injured and hundreds have been arrested.
In addition, the authorities have blocked all access to Internet in order to silence the protests, since the demonstrations were called through online social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Meanwhile, the official TV constantly showed messages urging the people not to participate in mobilizations.
However, the atmosphere in Cairo streets is filled with hope, far from the fear inspired by Mubarak’s regime.
“I can’t even describe the feeling right now. It’s very surreal, euphoric to see people unified for one cause and to see the smiles in people’s faces. They are finally glad that they have overcome the fear of this regime”, said one of the demonstrators in Tahrir Square, Cairo, to Al Jazeera. He added that the people are at a point of no return, since they will continue mobilizing until Mubarak’s administration falls.
Meanwhile, at international level, Western powers have not expressed their support to the protests in a clear way, and won’t demand Mubarak’s resignation. The US, a strong ally of the Egyptian government, is talking about an “ordered transition” that respects the liberties that are being claimed. While Israel has been clear in their support to the Egyptian authoritarian government.
But in the Middle East and Northern Africa, protests have spread and shaken authoritarian regimes. Within a month, what started spontaneously in Tunisia as a sign of support to an unemployed college student who sacrificed himself after one of the many abuses perpetrated by the police, became the end for Ben Ali’s dictatorship. This continued in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Sudan, where demonstrators today are taking the streets to demand a change that allows them to live with freedom.
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