El Baradie joins anti-government protest in Egypt

Thursday, January 27, 2011

CAIRO - Former chief of UN nuclear watchdog agency and Egypt’s reformist leader Mohamed El Baradie arrived in Cairo to join the ongoing protests against the country’s 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

The anti-government activists have planed a massive rally in the capital Friday.

The protesters want the government to end its 30-year state of emergency and pass a law preventing a president from serving more than two terms, and want the Interior Minister Habib al-Adly to resign.

“The barrier of fear is broken,” El Baradie, former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters at the Cairo airport.

He said that he returned to Egypt as it is a critical time and he has to join forces with the people. He said it is time for President Mubarak to quit, Xinhua reported.

“We have been calling for change for a year, but the regime has not listened to us,” El Baradie was quoted as saying.

“It’s a process, change cannot take place over night,” said the 68-year-old leader who hailed Egyptian youth for taking inspiration form Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution”.

Protests in Egypt broke out this week after opposition groups waged an internet campaign inspired by the uprising in Tunisia, where weeks of unrest eventually toppled president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month.

Thousands of demonstrators took part in the protest in which at least four people were killed so far, according to media reports. Egyptian security officials have detained more than 700 demonstrators across the country.

Before arriving in Cairo, El Baradie told reporters in Vienna that he is ready to lead an interim government if Egyptians succeed in overthrowing the current government.

El Baradie formed the National Coalition for Change in 2010, bringing together several of Egypt’s opposition groups seeking political reforms in the country, including transparent presidential elections and ending the emergency law.

Filed under: Politics

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