Egypt Protesters Defy Mounting Crackdown As Military Refuses to Step Down
Egyptian protesters continue to fill Cairo’s central Tahrir Square over the ruling military council’s refusal to immediately transfer power to a civilian government. In a televised address on Tuesday, the head of Egypt’s military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, said he has accepted the prime minister’s resignation and that the military is ready to relinquish power if Egyptians call for that in a referendum. But protests only intensified after Tantawi’s speech and security forces unleashed a barrage of tear gas. Over the past five days at least 38 people have been killed, thousands injured, and at least 15 journalists attacked as Egypt has witnessed the largest protests since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Kouddous has been on the ground reporting from in Egypt since the revolution began in January.
"[Tantawi] essentially offered some minor concessions that were not demanded by any of the protesters in Tahrir," says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous reporting from Cairo. "Many compared the speech to Mubarak’s second speech on February 1st where he made some kinds of concessions and used this kind of the tone in the hope of ending the revolution. But the response then and the response now were very similar. … But the response then and the response now were very similar. Tahrir yesterday was packed with people, really a massive, massive protest. And after the speech ended, you heard this huge reverberation from the crowd, this huge echo of Irhal, which means '‘leave.'"