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Friday, February 4, 2011

'There Will Be Chaos If I Resign' - Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak

From the burning land of Egypt comes President Hosni Mubarak's latest cry - "I want to resign, but there will be chaos if I resign now."

In a clip by ABC News, the 82-year-old ruler and looter is seen saying "I am fed up with being President and would like to leave office now, but cannot for fear that the country would sink into chaos."

Rubbishing the claims that his government is responsible for the recent anti-Government protests, Mubarak has blamed the main opposition party the Muslim Brotherhood for the unrest. "I am troubled by the violence we have seen in Tahrir Square for the past few days but the government is not responsible for it" ABC News has quoted the President as saying. "I do not want to see Egyptians fighting each other. I don't care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country, I care about Egypt" said Mubarak as violence escalated on the 10th day of wave of protests across the country.

On the possibility of his son Gamal being his successor, Mubarak said it was never his intention to have his son follow him into office, ABC reported. Pledging his loyalty to Egypt, he said, "I would never run away, I will die on this soil."

According to United Nations estimates, more than 300 people have died since the unrest broke out on the 25th of January, with close to 4,000 injured. The Egyptian prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, apologised for the deadly clashes and promised an investigation into the violence.

Voice of the Protesters:
1. He is never to be supported by any person of the population. He is a killer.
2. Mubarak is a terrorist, not us.
3. Dr Kamal el-Helbawy is a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood based in London. He says the offer is more of a threat than an opportunity. They are threatening as well. If you lose this opportunity, there is no other way. So this is a threat. Secondly, the Muslim Brotherhood were banned for many, many years and all the time during the regime of Mubarak for 30 years and now they are in trouble and the revolution is continuous and the people would not like to see only Mubarak departing but the whole regime that was involved.
4. ABC Middle East correspondent Ben Knight told Radio National the attacks have been stepped up, with Mubarak supporters and officials harassing journalists in their hotels. "A group of pro-Mubarak supporters managed to get into that hotel and were looking for foreign journalists. That situation, I understand, ended without too much incident but perhaps what is even more worrying since then is that the state authorities have been going around to the hotels. One journalist has reported the authorities burst into his room, six of them, went straight out to the balcony looking for broadcast equipment, didn't find it and then came back in."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Mubarak: "Hear the cry of people and their extremely humane demands. Meet the people's desire for change without hesitation. In today's world, freedoms cannot be postponed or overlooked. We are all mortals. What matters is to be remembered with respect."

On U.S. President Barack Obama’s apparent calls for his resignation, Mr. Mubarak said he told his American counterpart, “You don’t understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now.” He, however, maintained that Mr. Obama is a “very good man.”

Already, the unrest has stilled normal life in Cairo. Trains are stopped, schools are closed, and banks are shut. Scarcity of commodities and further hardship to people will aggravate the already tense situation further. There are indications that the situation could flare up to an ugly civil war between the pro-democracy people and Mubarak supporters. If that happens, it will definitely take the country back by a few decades, and the recovery, both politically and economically, would be painful and slow.

- Debolina Raja Gupta