Saturday, January 29, 2011

PoliticsEgypt: Prez Mubarak: Fires cabinet, "tomorrow there will be a new one"

Yahoo! News [Jan29,2k11]

Mubarak defiant 

as Egypt toll rises, 

Obama wades in

CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday addressed the nation for the first time since deadly protests erupted against his regime, vowing reform but showing no sign of relaxing his decades-old grip on power.
US President Barack Obama meanwhile called on Egyptian authorities not to use violence against the raging political protests, and drove home his message in a 30-minute phone call with Mubarak.
Four days after angry protesters first took to the street and with at least 27 people killed in subsequent street battles, a stoney-faced Mubarak said he had sacked the government and would pursue economic and political reforms.
"I have asked the government to resign and tomorrow there will be a new government," Mubarak, 82, said on state television as protests raged in Cairo and other cities despite a night-time curfew.
"We will not backtrack on reforms. We will continue with new steps which will ensure the independence of the judiciary and its rulings, and more freedom for citizens," he said.
Protesters who have been demanding Mubarak step down, as well as an end to endemic state corruption and police brutality that have become systematic under his rule, dismissed the speech as too little, too late.
"We don't care if the government resigns, we want him to resign," said demonstrator Khaled, 22, in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.
Student Abdo, 20, said: "Prices are still high, the problems are still there, this doesn't solve anything."
Thirteen people died in clashes with police on Friday in the canal city of Suez, at least five in Cairo and two in Mansura, north of the capital, with many fatalities caused by rubber-coated bullets, medics and witnesses said.
Seven more people died on Wednesday and Thursday.
Key allies including the United States, Britain and Germany on Friday expressed concern about the violence, with Britain noting that the protesters had "legitimate grievances."

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