Egypt protesters persevere

Updated: 2011-02-01 07:37

By Sherine El Madany and Marwa Awad (China Daily)

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International pressure on President Hosni Mubarak grows stronger

Egypt protesters persevere

An Egyptian army soldier joins a crowd of demonstrators during a prayer at Tahrir Square in central Cairo on Sunday on the sixth day of mass protests across the country calling for the resignation of President, Hosni Mubarak. [Marco Longari / Agence France-Presse]

CAIRO - Protesters were camped out in central Cairo on Monday and vowed to stay until they had toppled President Hosni Mubarak, whose fate appeared to hang on the military as pressure mounted from the street and abroad.

"The army has to choose between Egypt and Mubarak," read one banner in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where demonstrators shared food with soldiers sent to restore order after violent protests shook Mubarak's 30-year rule to its core.

By dawn, some hardy demonstrators were still camped in the square, which was covered in early morning mist. They had already begun chants of "Down, Down, Mubarak".

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Six days of unrest has killed more than 100 people but the two sides have reached a stalemate. Protesters refuse to go, while the army is not moving them. The longer protesters stay unchallenged, the more untenable Mubarak's position seems.

Protesters in Tahrir Square - epicenter of the earthquake that has sent shudders through the Middle East and among global investors - have dismissed Mubarak's appointment of military men as his vice-president and prime minister.

His promises of economic reform to address public anger at rising prices, unemployment and huge gap between rich and poor have failed to halt their broader calls for a political sweep out of Mubarak and his associates.

Protesters have called for a general strike on Monday and what they bill as a "protest of the millions" march on Tuesday, to press their demands which could spell the end for the military establishment which has run post-colonial Egypt since the 1950s.

The crisis in Egypt follows a revolt that toppled the leader of Tunisia two weeks ago, and a wave of popular anger sweeping other countries in North Africa and the Middle East.

Financial markets around the globe opened on Monday bracing for the impact of the weekend's events in Egypt. Brent oil hit a 28-month high, just pennies below $100 a barrel.

Share prices fell across Asia after the protest in Egypt. Japan's Nikkei share average finished 1.2 percent lower, following Wall Street, which had closed down 1.8 percent on Friday.



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