Mubarak appoints deputy and new PM as Egypt protests continue

Demonstrators stand near army tanks in Tahrir square during protests in Cairo on Saturday (January 29th). [Reuters/Yannis Behrakis]

Demonstrators stand near army tanks in Tahrir square during protests in Cairo on Saturday (January 29th). [Reuters/Yannis Behrakis]

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In a bid to placate protestors, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak appointed Lieutenant General Omar Suleiman as the new vice-president of Egypt on Saturday (January 29th). He will be the first vice-president during Mubarak's 30 year reign as the leader of Egypt.

Suleiman, a close confidant of the president, is the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate.

Mubarak also named Ahmed Shafik, former Civil Aviation Minister and former Air Force commander, to form a new Egyptian government to replace Ahmad Nazif's government.

Nazif's cabinet tendered its resignation after a request by President Hosni Mubarak on Friday.

In a televised speech, Mubarak said chaos will not prompt change, and promised reforms.

"We will continue with new steps which will ensure the independence of the judiciary and its rulings, more freedom for citizens," Mubarak said. He also pledged policies "to contain unemployment, raise living standards, improve services and stand by the poor."

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Saturday and continued their demands for the resignation of Mubarak. The military imposed a 4pm curfew to extend until 8am in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, but thousands of protesters remained on the streets long after the curfew started.

Tanks and armed personnel carriers were deployed around the square and other parts of Cairo guarding government buildings. Soldiers did not intervene in the protests, but reportedly opened fire as protesters tried to storm the Interior Ministry.

Ahmed Ezz, a supporter of the president's son, chairman of Ezz Steel and one of the targets for protester criticism, has resigned from ruling party, state television reported. Protesters ransacked and burned one of the wealthy businessman's company's main offices in Mohandiseen, an area of Cairo.

The Egyptian health ministry released a statement on Saturday that said 40 people have died and 996 have been wounded since protests started on Tuesday.

Citizens plead for security

In an alarming development, many Egyptian citizens complained that "organised gangs" are looting private residences and businesses across Cairo. Citizens calling al-Arabiya TV and Al-Jazeera TV pleaded with the army and the police to intervene to instil order on the streets. They said Egyptian citizens are forming neighbourhood committees to protect their areas from armed thieves.

These thugs have nothing to do with the protests and have taken advantage of the security vacuum, one eyewitness told al-Arabiya.

Egyptian officials have condemned what they described as "criminal gangs" spreading chaos in the country. Many police stations were torched, and prisoners were set free by protestors.

Alexandria police officer Mohammad Samir told al-Arabiya that "40% of looters are convicted criminals set free during the protests, and the rest come from poor neighbourhoods".

Media also reported that some damaged was done by looters on Friday to the Egyptian museum yesterday before some protesters and then the military intervened to protect the museum's priceless treasures.

The looters apparently entered the museum from above as tourism police and other Cairo residents guarded the main entrance. Two mummies were destroyed and the ticket office was vandalized.

The Army issued a statement late in the evening that called on Egyptians to abide by the curfew and warned that it will deal firmly with outlaws and take measures to protect Egyptian security.

The Army urged citizens to report any looting or criminal activity by calling the 19164 hotline.

ADD A COMMENT (COMMENT POLICY) * DENOTES REQUIRED FIELD

  • READER COMMENTS

    فتحى عثمان قطايه من مصر

    2013-2-3

    This was a test to see the reaction but it did not work. The time for destiny has come.

  • جلال سعيد

    2012-8-2

    God the avenger.

  • صلاح

    2011-11-28

    We all support the Army and the Military Council.

  • حميد سنان

    2011-2-10

    Leave, Mubarak, and let the Egyptian people live their lives and see light once more, without the emergency law, which left many innocent people behind bars. Go away and leave the innocent people alone. Leave and nobody will regret your departure, because you are just like the leaders who weighed heavily on the chests of their peoples for decades, as if these countries were fiefs registered in your names that you would never give up until you die. We demand today that you leave your offices, so they can be refreshed by the youth once more, as they will bring it back to life, for Egypt to start a new life, away from worries and stresses, which have been directed against them throughout the years of your reign. The people today, in all their categories, including old people, youth, women and even children, demand that you leave; comply with the will of the people, leave the presidency and go and never come back. Today, a new age has started; an age when the signs of democracy have started appearing in the horizon in Egypt. The time has come for the change which has been long awaited by everyone for many years. Today, there is nothing left except for you to leave. You have seen with your own eyes the Egyptian people’s rejection of you through their demonstrations, marches and sit-ins, which amazed the whole world, under the name of the Day of Rage over you and over the profiteering blood-sucking group around you, who steal the wealth of the people and hijack their fates. The inevitable day of change has come. So leave the reins of power; we demand that you leave now, because this is what the people want, and the will of the people is merciless toward the likes of you.

  • ناظم التايه

    2011-2-10

    Criminals, who are robbing and looting shops and banks, are committing a terrorist act for which they must be held accountable. In fact, the uprising aims to ask for rights rather than to incite acts of sabotage and theft, which will harm the reputation of Egypt, distort its image and reflect the immorality of the situation. Besides, Egyptians must be more honest, so that Egypt will be in peace.

  • عمر

    2011-2-10

    Egyptians and honorable demonstrators must be aware that some people want to tarnish the image of the Egyptian uprising, which is highly respected and appreciated by all the world countries. They must pay attention to the criminals and terrorists who are secretly plotting to render the demonstration an uprising for looting rather than for rights. Indeed, some people steal or burn down banks and the infrastructure, loot, and help the prisoners who have committed crimes against Egyptians to escape. Then, the media declares that the demonstrators want to wreak havoc in the country rather than to reform it. Thus, Egyptian people must pay attention to this important issue and form civil groups in order to maintain security and safety for Egyptian citizens, shops, and civil as well as service institutions.

  • شهاب علي

    2011-2-8

    I personally believe that the infection of revolution passed from Tunisia to Egypt. This is about the right time for a change in Egypt, because the Arab people of Egypt have struggled for many years against oppression. It is no longer possible to silence the voices calling for justice and demanding change. Prisons, rubber bullets and live bullets no longer scare the sons of Egypt, because the time has come for Hosni to leave; and the reforms he promised to make in his sterile speech will not do him any good, because they came very late. Moreover, nobody believes him anymore, because he could not fulfill any of the promises he made before, and he did not work hard to achieve the demands of the people. So, will he be able to do that now, after he has been pushed into a tight corner by the people? Of course not. His reforms and the dissolution of the cabinet will not be enough. The only solution that will restore stability to Egypt is the resignation of all members of the government and the appointment of a provisional government that will work on organizing new parliamentary elections and presidential elections. The candidate who will be voted for has to be known for his honesty, integrity, honor and patriotism, so that he will save Egypt from the state of loss to which Hosni Mubarak and his cabinet have led Egypt.

  • جلال محمد

    2011-2-6

    President Hosni Mubarak has to submit to the principle of reform, and not just change the names of the people in government. He should meet the demands of the people, who have suffered enormously during the thirty years that Hosni Mubarak has clung to power. During all this time, the Egyptian people and the country have lived through miserable economic times and dire poverty. The fact that the people have come out in the streets is due to the sense of deprivation, poverty and the poor living conditions in the country. The people have broken their shackles, and they have begun to chant slogans of freedom in the streets of the Egyptian capital, close to the nearest government offices, as well as in the other governorates. They are hoping for a new dawn that will herald a new era, a different one, where the citizens of Egypt will enjoy a better life.

  • مراد

    2011-2-6

    The Egyptian people are saying to this government, “Leave!”, and they want their voices to be heard. They are demanding a decent living, and their basic needs: freedom, solutions to the economic problems, a minimum wage, an end to unemployment, and the formation of different parties that represent the people, in addition to finding solutions to other problems, which have plagued the lives of the Egyptian people for 30 years, about which nothing has been done yet.

  • ربيع هادي

    2011-2-6

    I don’t think that the changes made by Hosni Mubarak, in his attempt to persuade the public and the Egyptian people, by sacking his cabinet and appointing a new Vice-President, a Prime Minister and other new ministers, will work, as none of this helped. The people want to change the top of the pyramid, because changes in these other positions are nothing but shifting names around, while the actions and the system and its policies remain the same as before. In fact, things could get worse, especially since the people have carried out protests against Hosni Mubarak. So, if the people calm down, the punishment that will be meted out to them will be harsh. This is why I think this is the last chance, and we should use it appropriately, and this should continue until Hosni Mubarak is forced out of office and the demands of the demonstrators are met. No one among the demonstrators will fall for this deception that Hosni Mubarak is trying to engage in, because they know what will await them after that.

  • مشمشه

    2011-2-3

    What happened to the Egyptian people is not acceptable. This is destruction and sectarian strife. Other countries want to see our country destroyed and corrupt in order to control it. Every Egyptian must prove to the entire world that we do not anyone to intervene in our internal affairs. We are proud of our president Mubarak who made a lot of sacrifices for us. He deserves to be the president of Egypt. He defended this country to the death. We respect Mr. President because he protected all of us. In addition, you declared that you are not going to run for the presidency but we would like to ask you to forgive us for everything. You are the father of every Egyptian. We are proud of you and we ask you to continue ruling the country because you are the only one who deserves this.

  • مواطن مصرى

    2011-1-31

    With all due respect to all those who have worked for al-Shorfa website, all this is lies. You know nothing but lying. You only see what you want to see. God alone is sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs!

  • محمد عادل

    2011-1-30

    I am an Egyptian expatriate and I ask for freedom. I live far from my family and I want to live and die in my homeland.

  • احمد

    2011-1-30

    Peace be upon you. I have no comment on the subject, because yesterday, the comments were about Iraq, today they are about Egypt, and tomorrow they will be about the Arab countries

  • حكيم

    2011-1-30

    May God help the people of Egypt. We are the best people on earth, but beware of foreign interventions. If the army is deployed within the country, who will protect our beloved Egypt? May God save Egypt and its people.

  • ملاك مصر المحب

    2011-1-30

    What is Mubarak waiting for? Maybe he is dead and the government does not want to announce his death, because then chaos would prevail. If Mubarak is alive, he must show up and resign. He should not evade the Egyptian people and procrastinate. You should admit the reality which says that Mubarak must leave. Enough with sabotaging the country; the people are aware that it is you who is sabotaging it, so that confusion and fear prevail. Leave, Mubarak, before it is too late.

  • [email protected]

    2011-1-30

    God is the greatest, praise be to God.

  • اليافعي

    2011-1-30

    May God help you, O heroes of the Major Arab Revolution that will change rulers. Tunisia and Egypt are the beginning of the revolution. Best Regards