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Egypt unrest continues; Mubarak fires cabinet as Obama intervenes
Cairo/Washington, Jan 29 (IANS):
Published on 30 Jan. 2011 12:52 AM IST
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A combative Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak dramatically directed his cabinet to resign as US president Barack Obama told him to avoid a violent response to the growing nationwide protests to end his 30-year rule. Egypt’s cabinet complied with Mubarak’s diktat and officially resigned during a meeting Saturday, a media report said.
The demand for Mubarak’s resignation reached a crescendo on the streets of central Cairo with thousands of demonstrators Friday demanding that he step down.
Hundreds of protestors resumed their gathering Saturday in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, where anti-government demonstrations started peacefully Tuesday afternoon before turning violent in the following days. Egyptians have been taking to the streets since Tuesday, demanding Mubarak’s ouster. A demonstrator on the street said: “All people can die, to hell with us all - only Hosny Mubarak wants to live.”
The government has banned unauthorized protests and warned protesters that they would be dealt with swiftly. More than 1,000 people have been arrested this week, with many more reportedly missing. Mubarak said in a televised, 11-minute speech: “I have asked the government to resign.” As many as 13 protesters were killed Friday in clashes with security forces, amid a tide of anger at Mubarak.
As the uprising rapidly spread through Egypt, Obama asked Mubarak to make good on his promises and avoid a violent response to the thousands of protesters in the streets.
Obama spoke with Mubarak shortly after the latter addressed his country saying he was asking his government to make way for a new one and pledging to address the concerns of thousand of Egyptians protesting in Cairo’s streets.
“I just spoke to him after his speech,” Obama said, “and told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words, to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.
“There must be reform,” he said, “political, social and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people. “In the absence of these reforms,” he said, “grievances have built up over time. “The United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free and more hopeful,” he concluded.
This week’s protests are the biggest in Egypt since bread riots in the 1970s.

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