Protesters stay in Cairo square

Monday, February 7, 2011

CAIRO - Groups of protesters remained in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square Monday morning, hundreds having camped out over-night, a day after some opposition groups began their first talks with the government.

The banned Muslim Brotherhood participated in the talks, and while admitting it was just a beginning they also insisted that no substantive concessions had been offered. Some committees were formed to look into core demands.

Several distinct strains of political thought have emerged. The Egyptians in the square want President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately. Other segments of society want to see a compromised, dignified exit for the man who has ruled since 1981.

And the government, for now, was sticking to its position that Mubarak will resign in September, at the end of his current term.

One proposal being floated suggests a gradual diminishing of Mubarak’s powers, with control shifting to vice presidents and technocrats, while he stays on as president.

In the US, President Barack Obama stressed there was room for a democratic Egypt to emerge.

“What I want is a representative government in Egypt,” Obama said.

“And I have confidence that if Egypt moves in an orderly transition process, that we will have a government in Egypt that we can work with together as a partner.”

The military was still keeping watch over Tahrir, though there were some signs of restlessness and efforts were being made to reduce the space available to protesters.

Elsewhere in Egypt, life was slowly beginning to return to normal, with businesses re-opening. But a full return to regular daily life still seemed a long way off.

Filed under: Politics

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