2011-02-01 Army Vows Not to Shoot as Protesters make Million Man Marches in Cairo, Alexandria Today [UPDATE: 2]

9:30pm Cairo - Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has just given a speech in which he vowed not to run for president in the fall but would not step down until them. He said protests are "manipulated by political forces" in his TV address. Initial reaction from the estimated two million people still protesting in central Cairo is that he has to go now.

6:00pm Cairo - Tweets and news reports we are seeing as the Sun sets in Cairo indicated that the Million Man March has been an overwhelming success. Araby tweets "2 Million in Alexandria. Almost 3 Million in Cairo. Around half a Million Suez. It's happening."

People on Tahrir Square in Cairo where Al Jazeera is reporting 2 million people have gathered are saying that they aren't leaving until Hosni Mubarak does. People are standing shoulder to shoulder in the famed Tahrir Square, the atmosphere is lively but peaceful as protesters wave signs a loft and chant slogans demanding that Mubarak go. Someone even hung an effigy of Mubarak from a street sign. The army has placed barbed wire around Mubarak's residence and they have been checking protesters for weapons as they entered the square but they have done nothing to stop the march.

While the largest protest is taking place in Cairo, the nations capital, large protests also took place in other cities across Egypt including Sinai, Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura, Damnhour, Arish, Tanta, el-Mahalla and el-Kubra. A quater million marched in Sinai and over a million in Alexandria.

Gigi Ibrahim, one of the protesters, told Al Jazeera the activists will not be satisfied until Mubarak steps down. "... Every day there are more numbers on the street than the day before. I think the protests are gaining momentum. The people ... will literally not leave until Mubarak steps down," she said.

As the people demanding an end to the 30 year presidency of Hosni Mubark plan an historic Million Man March in Cairo's Tahrir Square today and a second Million Man March in Alexandria, the army pledges not to fire on the protesters. While Mubarak is now belatedly offering to open talks with the opposition and make reform, he has fired his old cabinet and even appointed his first vice-president in 30 years, the people just see these promises as another desperate attempt to stay in power. Now, in the most recent developments, even the army is indicating that it will take the side of the people against Mubarak and without the army he has no chance to maintain his rule.

Today the Egyptian people will demand his resignation with a loud united voice.

Tuesday morning Al Jazeera says:

Protesters in the Egyptian capital have begun gathering for a planned "march of a million", calling for Hosni Mubarak, the embattled Egyptian president, to step down.

Demonstrators began gathering from early on Tuesday morning in Cairo's Tahrir Square, which has been the focal point of protests in the capital and served as the meeting area for the march to begin on the eighth day of an uprising that has so far claimed more than 125 lives.

Another million-strong march is planned in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, as national train services were canceled in an apparent bid to stymie protests.

Army support, without which Mubarak can not stay in power, is unraveling quickly in the face of the people's support for the army and determined opposition to Mubarak. Reuters reports:

"The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people," it said, though it would stop looters.

"Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody."

Yesterday Mubarak pulled the plug on the last Internet Service Provider functioning in Egypt. One ISP had been left standing to service the Egyptian stock market after the earlier Internet take down. Now his desperation has reached a new level. The government even shut down train service to try to stop people from getting to Cairo. The protest movement would not be thwarted though. Activist used faxes, cell phones, after service was restored and made use of satellite and dial-up Internet access wherever they was available.

The Egyptian President is now offering a program of sweeping reforms that almost everyone is calling too little too late. His newly appointed vice-president Omar Suleiman appeared on state run TV to say he was beginning a dialogue with all political forces on constitutional and other reforms.

People are no longer interested in anything he has to say. It is too late to promise reform. They will not stop their protests until he is forced from office.

"But all groups, young, old, rich, poor, Christians, Muslims they are all heading [to Tahrir Square]."

Gigi Ibrahim, a political activist who is planning on attending the rally, told Al Jazeera the protesters will not be satisfied until Mubarak steps down.

"I think today there will be great numbers on the street ... every day there are more numbers on the street than the day before. I think the protests are gaining momentum. The people ... will literally not leave until Mubarak steps down," she said.

This will be a historic day for Egypt and the world.

These are our most recent articles on the Egyptian struggle:
2011-01-31 Egypt's Military jockeys to maintain Longstanding Grip on Power
2011-01-31 Cable: Egyptian April 6 activist's democracy goals "highly unrealistic"
2011-01-30 Million Egyptian Protest Planned as Resistance Continues

Don't give them a chance...

Note to the Egyptian People.

Egypt's regime is trying the same strategy that the Tunisian regime used just before it fell. Security forces in civilian clothing are causing chaos and disorder in the streets:

- to re-instill fear in the protesters minds.
- to show foreign media that the protesters are nothing but rabble.
- to show the general population that the only road to peace is the old regime.

In Tunisia, it didn't work.

Like Tunisia, don't give the old regime time to plan effectively. Tunisia's old regime collapsed because the ongoing pressure from the Tunisian people kept them in crisis mode, back peddling and in constant damage control. If Egypt's old regime lasts until September, they will spend all of that time in 'closed room meetings' working diligently on how to 'game the system' so that they end up back on top again. They will do this. They've have three decades of practice, it's what they do.

I hate to say this, I really do, but it's now... or never.

Egyptian people, DO NOT give the old regime time to plan. Your very future is at stake.


P.S. Don't worry, there is a whole world of us 'out here' that would be more than happy to help you rebuild your country into the great nation it once was.

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