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January 30, 2011

Liveblog: ElBaradei on Way to Tahrir Square

Posted in: Foreign policy,Freedom,Human Rights

Al Jazeera is reporting that ElBaradei has arrived at the square and will make a statement asking the military to support the people. No one is sure how you make a statement in this kind of situation – let’s watch together and share the news.

At the moment, this does not look like the “constructive dialogue” Secretary Clinton is still calling for – when will the Obama administration catch up with reality?

A little background. AL Masry Al Youm reports:

National opposition groups demanded that reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei form a transitional government, according to a statement issued by the Democratic Front Party.

The statement said that following President Hosni Mubarak’s imminent departure, ElBaradei should be in charge of negotiating the next steps–including devising economic and social reforms, releasing all detainees, and lifting emergency rule–towards constructing an interim government.

and that:

ElBaradei demands Mubarak’s Immediate Departure

If Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wants to “save his skin,” he should leave today, said prominent opposition fiigure Mohamed ElBaradei on Sunday in an interview with CNN.

“Leave in dignity before things get out of hand,” he said, in implicit warning that chaos would intensify in the country if Mubarak refused to leave.

Corrected: And Al Jazeera reports the Muslim Brotherhood have announced their support for a ElBaradei to negotiate transition.

As We are all Khaled Said says:

Love this –> New Interim president Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel peace prize winner, is heading to Tahrir square to address protesters & says he is ready to talk to the Army on behalf of Egyptian people after the people has given him the mandate. Mubarak is still glued to his chair.

12:01 EST - ElBaradei is in the square, surrounded by crowds, Says “What we have begun cannot go back”

12:10 EST – Guardian reporter (click here for his audio) reports a human corridor is being formed to move ElBaradei to center of the square. The Tanks have stationed themselves at all points of access but are letting people through singlefile so significant that the tanks have allowed him in. People are gathering around him. People feel it’s the final hour of Mubarak’s regime:

“It’s certainly a key moment. Many people in the crowd feel this is the final hours of the Mubarak regime,” Jack said before the line cut out.

“It’s still unclear at the moment what his [ElBaradei's] reception will be. He’s popular among some people, but there are those who felt he has joined the protests too late and is only arriving now once the danger is apparently over. Either way this is a special moment,” Jack added. “It’s certainly a key moment. Many people in the crowd feel this is the final hours of the Mubarak regime,” Jack said before the line cut out.

“It’s still unclear at the moment what his [ElBaradei's] reception will be. He’s popular among some people, but there are those who felt he has joined the protests too late and is only arriving now once the danger is apparently over. Either way this is a special moment,” Jack added.

12:20 EST Messages circulating for media to “Call one of these two numbers +20110009938 or +20110009938 to broadcast Dr ElBaradei speach live from Tahrir square now.”

Clearly the logisitics of making a statement live without loudspeakers, etc is … tricky!

As soon as we have a confirmed source for an ElBaradei statement in English, we’ll pass it right along.

12:30 ESThe Guardian is reporting that

ElBaradei told the crowd, according to Reuters.

“You have taken back your rights and what we have begun cannot go back… We have one main demand – the end of the regime and the beginning of a new stage, a new Egypt.”

“I bow to the people of Egypt in respect. I ask of you patience.”

But it’s worth noting the same statement was circulating before his arrival when spokespeople were telling the media this was what he would say. We are still waiting for confirmation of whether he has formally spoken.

12:33 EST ElBaradei speaking via bullhorn.

They have stolen our freedom … As we mentioned before we have a key demand for the regime to step down and a new era to start.

12:48EST A little more of ElBaradei’s statement from the Al Jazeera liveblog:

You have taken back your rights and what we have begun cannot go back…We have one main demand — the end of the regime and the beginning of a new stage, a new Egypt…I bow to the people of Egypt in respect. I ask of you patience, change is coming in the next few days…

I’m going to wrap up the liveblog now but we’ll be back as events develop. From all sources there’s a feeling that tonight may be decisive.



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