afrol News, 31 January - As a record 250,000 Egyptian protesters again gather to defy the curfew, there is a new saying in the crowd: "The only one under curfew is Mubarak!" Upcoming protests will be even greater, with a general strike tomorrow and storming of the presidential palace on Friday.
The Cairo demonstrations got into a slow start today, as only 2-3,000 protesters had mingled with army soldiers and vehicles on central Cairo's Tahrir Square at noon.
But the low initial turnout had a natural explanation. Most of the protesters - which now include anything from housewives to factory workers, doctors and judges - had work to go to during daytime. The responsible crowd wants to keep the weels going in Egypt, in addition to make sure that the demonstrations go along orderly.
As the curfew fell on Cairo and the rest of Egypt in the afternoon, the city centres however became lively. More and more citizens stream into the streets and sqares. The latest reports from Cairo put the estimate of popular participation in the protests at 250,000.
The demonstrators have to defy the last convulsions of repression to be able to organise their revolution. Today, the Mubarak regime ordered the halt of railway traffic, aiming at limiting the stream of people entering downtown Cairo.
Also, media, internet and mobile phone censorship remains heavy, hindering the flow of necessary information to the protesters and making the organisation of protests difficult. Some foreign media are still accessable, but popular 'Al Jazeera' is now off limit to most Egyptians. State broadcasters report of President Hosni Mubarak's tough efforts to reform the country, spread fear about looting mobs and insists the curfew must be respected.
The large crowds gathering this evening also defy the fear that the revolution might be dying out. Indeed, there are plans for the largest manifestations to be held tomorrow, as a general strike in announced to be in place until Mr Mubarak steps down. Organisers hope for one million to participate tomorrow - enough to bring down the regime.
But hundreds of thous
Egypt state TV today showed protesters at Tahrir Square
ands of Egyptians did not have the patience to wait until tomorrow, and maybe let the police and government regain momentum. Indeed, the fury is not easing, but it is growing, following the "reform efforts" announced by President Mubarak.
Protesters at Tahrir Square make it clear that they do not accept the new Vice-president - a former intelligence chief - and the new government installed by Mr Mubarak. Protesters say they will not accept any of these strongmen of the old regime to take on power when President Mubarak finally leaves office.
Many hope that this fall can be achieved already today. The The protesters not that one key supporter of President Mubarak after the other is turning his back on him. It started with religious leaders and businessmen, continued with army privates and now, finally, includes foreign governments.
This afternoon, there are even indications Mr Mubarak is loosing his firm grip on state media. Egypt state television showed footage of masses of demonstrators streaming into Tahrir Square, despite earlier reports claining demonstrations were off today.
The record turnout of protesters in central Cairo today has even resulted in a list of demands presented to army leaders this evening. They demand the army, by Thursday morning, clearly states which side it is on, as the protesters will storm the presidential palace, parliament and state broadcaster after the Friday prayers, regardless of what the army says.
"We the people and the youth of Egypt demand that our brothers in the national armed forces clearly define their stance by either lining up with the real legitimacy provided by millions of Egyptians on strike on the streets, or standing in the camp of the regime that has killed our people, terrorised them and stole from them," the statement says.
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