The army calls for a return to “normal life” in Egypt, even as large crowds continued to gather in major cities across the country.
From the Washington Post:
With Mubarak promising to step down after elections this fall, military spokesman Ismail Etman said in a state television address that the protesters should focus on “returning normal life to Egypt.”
“Your message has arrived, your demands became known,” Etman said Wednesday morning.
The television station then broadcast a printed message that read: “The armed forces call on the protesters to go home for the sake of bringing back stability.”
But large crowds continued to gather in downtown’s vast Tahrir Square, and it seemed unlikely that the army’s message would prompt them to disperse.
Egyptian opposition leaders and pro-democracy demonstrators said Tuesday that they would continue to demand that Mubarak resign immediately. They were buoyed by President Obama’s statement that a transition to democracy in Egypt “must begin now.”
On Wednesday, soldiers were visible in Tahrir Square and at two smaller, pro-Mubarak rallies a short distance away overlooking the Nile River. The troops kept the Mubarak supporters away from those demanding his ouster, but otherwise maintained the same non-threatening posture they had displayed since being mobilized late last week.
The post is also reporting that Internet service has finally been restored in Egypt after a futile attempt by the Mubarak government to shut down the protests by cutting off online access.
The New York Times has more on President Obama’s call for Mubarak to begin the transition to democracy now.
Meanwhile the Guardian is reporting anger in Egypt at Mubarak’s refusal to step down immediately. It’s not known if the protests planned for Friday, which are specifically aimed at getting Mubarak out now, will be as large as the historic Tuesday demonstrations, which by some estimates brought millions into the streets across Egypt.
And in more signs of a ripple effect of the Tunsia and Egypt uprisings, the president of Yemen has announced he will not run for president again in 2013, a move that would end his 30-year rule. Protests had been planned in that country, too. Some analysts are skeptical that the move is genuine.
The Washington Post writes up Israel’s concerns about regional stability (and its fragile peace treaties.)
And of course, here comes Thomas Friedman…