afrol News, 10 February - Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is to hold a televised speech this evening, state TV has announced. As the pressure from protesters, striking workers, the army and his party has increased, rumours are he will stand down.
The rumour that President Mubarak will step down has already been received by cheering crowds on central Cairo's Tahrir Square. Protesters here, although let down by similar rumours several times earlier, now feel there can be no other possibility for the President to step down.
The announcement of his speech comes after army headquarters issued a "statement number 1" noted that the army leadership was now in "permanent" reunion about the situation in Egypt, adding that "all" of the protesters' demands were legitimate. The protesters' principal demand is that President Mubarak must step down right now.
The army thereby has made it clear it now is totally on the side of the protesters, and President Mubarak cannot maintain his grip on power without the army's support. The question now seems to be whether the army already has taken over power in Egypt, or whether it will support a transitional government led by Vice-President Omar Suleiman.
Also the leader of the ruling party today asked President Mubarak to step down, indicating he has also lost all remaining support among the political elite in the country.
The dramatic move comes after trade unions a
Protesters and striking workers today again stream into Tahrir Square
nd striking workers yesterday started supporting the protests. Today, more and more groups joined the strike and protests, all demanding political change and the resignation of President Mubarak.
Also internationally, the rumour of President Mubarak's imminent resignation is supported. The usually well-informed CIA Director Leon Panetta told the US Congress that it was probable that Mr Mubarak would step down this evening.
While it has been confirmed that President Mubarak will hold a speech on Egypt state TV this evening, the rumours about the speech's content and his whereabouts are not confirmed. A spreading rumour is, for example, that the President's speech is pre-taped and that he is already on his way out of the country.
At Tahrir Square, the cheers meanwhile have been silenced by anticipation. Tens of thousands have gathered, more and more are joining, to see whether they will live a historic moment together at this square becoming the symbol of the Egyptian revolution.
"Everyone is eagerly anticipating some kind of announcement here in Tahrir," Egyptian journalist Sharif Kouddous just tweeted from the square. "The crowd is huge," he adds.
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