CAIRO: Over 40,000 protesters continued their sit-in in Tahrir Square, demanding an end to the Mubarak regime as the military continued its presence in central Cairo and throughout the country.
Daily News Egypt reporters present at the scene said the new tanks in Tahrir Sunday were M1A1 Abrams tanks, a more powerful type than the ones previously deployed, in what commentators are calling a “show of force”.
Protesters were defiant saying “We will not be intimidated,” as fighter jets circled Tahrir square and were heard all over the city.
On Saturday President Hosni Mubarak appointed intelligence chief Omar Sulieman as vice president and Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq as Prime Minister.
In response to mass protests that saw tens of thousands of Egyptians take to the streets throughout governorates, the president asked the cabinet to resign a day before.
In a televised speech late Friday, the president said he’ll form a new government.
Sulieman filled a post that has been vacant since Mubarak, then vice president, assumed power after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981.
However the decision was not greeted by protesters as a sign of genuine change.
A coalition of opposition forces reportedly issued a statement asking former head of the IAEA Mohamed ElBaradei to form a transitional government.
According to various news reports, they called on the Nobel Laureate “during this transitional stage, to act in the internal and external affairs of the nation, and to form a temporary government… and to dissolve parliament and draft a new constitution which enables the Egyptian people to freely choose its representatives in parliament and elect a legitimate president.”
The statement was signed by the April 6 Youth Movement, the We are all Khalid Said online Movement, the National Association for Change and the January 25 Movement.
The movement rejected President Mubarak’s speech and all the procedures he announced calling on all Egyptians to keep on protesting until their main demand of the fall of the regime is achieved.
Ahmed Maher, coordinator of the April 6 Movement, said: “The procedure announced by Mubarak aims to sedate and mislead the people and coopt their demands.”
The Movement rejects any foreign intervention in Egyptian affairs and calls on foreign governments to stop supporting the Mubarak regime.
Answering a Daily News Egypt question about the movement’s support of ElBaradei and its stance, Maher said they supported ElBaradei since his arrival in Egypt and collected signatures for his petition for change.
He said that the government must take urgent procedures to supply food and essential commodities, especially flour for bread to avoid a crisis.
They also called on the armed forces to demand that the Health Ministry to open drug stores because supplies in private pharmacies are beginning to out.
According to a BBC report, Human Rights Watch says that looting is becoming a real problem in Alexandria.
Peter Bouckaert, the organization’s emergencies director, told the BBC World Service News Hour program that some of it was a deliberate attempt by the authorities to frighten people.
“Some of [the looters] are criminals who’ve been released from the prisons and we have confirmed reports that some of the looters are actually undercover policemen. So we’re not quite sure how much of this is spontaneous and how much of it is an organized attempt by the government to create instability now.”
HRW said in a statement on Saturday that there are at least 33 dead in Alexandria and about 80-100 in Cairo. Exact numbers of protesters shot dead by police in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other governorates are yet to be confirmed.
Army officer chanting with protesters in Tahrir. His brother reportedly died in demonstrations. (AFP Photo)
Protesters carry a man believed to be killed in clashes with police on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Egyptian anti-government protesters gather in Tahrir square in Cairo, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. Thousands of anti-government protesters have returned to Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, chanting slogans against President Hosni Mubarak just
hours after the Egyptian president fired his Cabinet but refused to step down. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Egyptians protested past the 4 pm curfew with army present on the street on Saturday. Army guarded the State TV building. (Photo by Sarah El Sirgany /Daily News Egypt)