Crowds throng Cairo square amid anticipation of Mubarak’s departure

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CAIRO - Thousands of Egyptians streamed into downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square Thursday night as the packed crowd cheered and clapped in anticipation that President Hosni Mubarak may soon announce he will step down.

Rain during the day didn’t dampen the spirits of the determined protesters and as night fell, the square wore a festive look.

Tahrir Square has been the epicentre of protests against Mubarak who has ruled Egypt since 1981. The protests entered the 17th day Thursday.

CNN reported that families joined the protesters at the square.

One man said that he was coming to the square for the first time since Jan 25 when the protests began and he insisted that he would not leave.

“It’s definitely a feel of celebration but also anxiousness, and not knowing what this announcement will actually say,” Gigi Ibrahim, a protester in the square, was quoted as saying.

“Nevertheless, it will be a huge victory for revolution, which is demanding for Mubarak to step down as a first demand. And if that actually happens, it would be an amazing, amazing victory.”

Mubarak had earlier said that he would step down at the end of his term in September, but not now. The protesters had remained defiant and were determined to oust Mubarak. The protests at Tahrir Square had turned violent last week, leaving 13 people dead and 1,000 injured.

Senior Google executive Wael Ghonim, who has emerged as the face of the protests after he helped initiate the demonstration through the internet and the Facebook, seemed happy with the prospect of Mubarak demitting office.

Ghonim, who was detained Jan 28 and was released after 10 days, wrote on his Twitter account: “Mission accomplished. Thanks to all the brave young Egyptians.”

There was a palpable sense of anticipation as speculation of Mubarak quitting swirled. Motorists honked their horns as the protesters chanted that the president must leave. The cheering was deafening.

Filed under: Politics

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