CAIRO -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak swore in a new Cabinet on Monday, replacing one dissolved as a concession to unprecedented anti-government protests.
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In the most significant change, the interior minister - who heads internal security forces - was replaced. A retired police general, Mahmoud Wagdi, was named to replace Habib el-Adly, who is widely despised by protesters for brutality shown by security forces.
Still, the new Cabinet is unlikely to satisfy the tens of thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets in cities across Egypt the past week demanding nothing short of the ouster of Mubarak and his entire regime. As news of the appointments broke, thousands massed in the protest's epicenter, Cairo's central Tahrir Square, broke into chants of "we want the fall of the regime."
"We dont recognize any decisions Mubarak has taken since Jan. 25," Mostafa el-Naggar, a supporter of prominent reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei, referring to the first day of the protests. "This is a failed attempt - he is done with."
Mubarak announced the dissolving of the previous government late Friday, naming his intelligence chief and close aide Omar Suleiman as vice president and former Air Force general Ahmed Shafiq as prime minister. But protesters immediately rejected the move as an attempt by Mubarak, Egypt's authoritarian ruler of nearly 30 years, to cling to power.
The new line-up of Cabinet ministers announced on state television included stalwarts of Mubarak's regime but purged several of the prominent businessmen who held economic posts and have engineered the country's economic liberalization policies the past decades. Many Egyptians resented to influence of millionaire politician-moguls, who were close allies of Mubarak's son, Gamal, long thought to be the heir apparent for the presidency.
In the new Cabinet, Mubarak retained his long-serving defense minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi - and gave him an additional title of deputy prime minister - and also kept Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
But for some posts, Mubarak brought in new blood by naming figures who hold widespread respect in their fields. For example, Gaber Asfour, a prominent literary figure, was named culture minister. He replaced the longest-serving Cabinet member, Farouq Hosni, who had held the post for more than 25 years. Also, Egypt's most famous archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, was named state minister for antiquities, a new post.
State newspapers on Monday published a sternly worded letter from Mubarak to his new prime minister, Shafiq, ordering him to move swiftly to introduce political, legislative and constitutional reforms.
He also appeared to distance himself from the economic policies directed by his son Gamal, widely blamed for causing a wide gap between the rich and poor, for whom economic hardships have deepened. In the letter, Mubarak urged "new economic policies that give maximum care to an economic performance which pays heed to the suffering of the citizens, and lightening their burden."
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02/14/2011 4:24 PM EST
Somali Preacher Urges Egypt-Style RevoltAhram Online reports:
A spiritual leader of Somalia's Islamist Shebab rebels called for popular Egypt- and Tunisia-style revolts to topple the government.
Sheikh Jama Abdusalam said such uprisings would rid the war-wracked country of a government that he accused of serving Western interests.
"I am urging the people to carry out Egyptian- and Tunisian-style uprisings in Somalia," Abdusalam told Alfurqaan Radio, a Shebab mouthpiece.
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02/14/2011 4:21 PM EST
Clinton To Egyptians 'Don't Let Anyone Hijack The Process'
|@ AlArabiya_Eng : Clinton to Alarabiya: I say to egyptians: don't let anyone hijack the process #alarabiya #Iran #Egypt #clinton|
02/14/2011 4:20 PM EST
Egypt Summary: Today's Events
Egypt's military rulers called for an end to strikes and protests Monday as thousands of state employees, from ambulance drivers to police and transport workers, demonstrated to demand better pay in a growing wave of labor unrest unleashed by the democracy uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak's regime.
The statement by the ruling military council that took power from Mubarak appeared to be a final warning to protest organizers in labor and professional unions before the army intervenes and imposes an outright ban on gatherings, strikes and sit-ins.
Soldiers cleared out almost all the remaining demonstrators from Cairo's Tahrir Square, the giant traffic circle that was turned into a protest camp headquarters for the 18-day revolt. During more than two weeks of round-the-clock demonstrations at the square, protesters set up tents, brought in blankets, operated medical clinics and festooned the entire plaza with giant banners demanding removal of the regime.
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02/14/2011 3:51 PM EST
'Rumors' Of More Deaths In BahrainThe Guardian reports:
There are rumours – and let us stress, just rumours at this point – of more deaths in Bahrain following today's protests.
02/14/2011 3:48 PM EST
France Asked To Freeze Assets Of Egypt Officials
|@ felix85 : France says Egypt asks it to freeze possible assets of ex-officials, adding to UK and Germany already today|
02/14/2011 2:59 PM EST
Yemen Protests Continue After Concessions By Regime
Ahram Online reports:
A crowd of about 3,000 protesters, mainly lawyers and students, tried to march from Sanaa University to Al-Tahrir square in the city centre, where [Yemen President] Saleh's supporters have been camped since last week, but were prevented by security forces who erected barbed wire, witnesses reported.
In a move to manage the situation President Saleh halted constitutional procedures which may have allowed him to assume the presidency for life, and possibly pave the way for his son, the chief of the Republican Guard, to succeed him.
02/14/2011 2:50 PM EST
Protester In Bahrain Reported Killed By Security Forces
The Guardian reports:
A major development in Bahrain where there are reports that one person has been killed by security forces during a protest:
According to sources in the hospital, and confirmed by Nabeel Rajab from a Bahraini human rights organisation, Ali Abdulhadi al-Mushaima, 27, was shot in the back with live ammunition. Protesters are incensed.
02/14/2011 2:43 PM EST
Dozens Of Iran Protest Clips On YouTube
|@ thelede : Live Update: Dozens of Iran Protest Clips on YouTube http://nyti.ms/dG1C5M #Egypt #Bahrain #Iran|
02/14/2011 2:42 PM EST
Egypt’s Ruling Generals Meet With Opposition
The New York Times reports:
Two generals sat down Sunday night to talk about their country’s future with seven of the revolution’s young organizers — including the Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim — and the young activists posted their notes on the meeting directly to the Internet for the Egyptian public to see.
“We all sensed a sincere desire to preserve the gains of the revolution and unprecedented respect for the right of young people to express their views,” two of the young organizers, Mr. Ghonim and Amr Salama, wrote in their Facebook posting, with the disclaimer that they were speaking only for themselves. They noted that the generals spoke without any of the usual “parental tone (you do not know what is good for you, son),” and called the encounter “the first time an Egyptian official sat down to listen more than speak.”
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