In Egypt, Protesters and Soldiers Declare: The Army and the People Are One

Military men, hoisted up by the crowd, remove their helmets; demonstrators chant they they will not cease their protest until Mubarak resigns.

Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer
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Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer

More than 100,000 Egyptians from all walks of life gathered on Saturday at the central square in Cairo, as military officers stationed in the area embraced the protesters, chanting "the army and the people are one – hand in hand."

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An Egyptian Army officer shouts slogans as he is carried by protesters in Cairo January 29, 2011.Credit: Reuters

The military officers removed their helmets as they were hoisted up by the crowd in ecstasy. The masses gathered at the square singing, praying and chanting that they will not cease their protest until Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns.

The Egyptian government announced earlier in the day that the curfew would be implemented earlier at 16:00, but no one heeded the warning that they would act "firmly" if it was broken.

Since the early morning police have not been seen in the streets, and the army has not enforced the curfew. The military forces have been stationed outside several government buildings, television stations and the national museum to secure them from looters.

Asalam Aziz, a 37-year-old accountant who joined the protests, told Haaretz that he was "filled with happiness, on the one hand, because my people are acting in a peaceful manner to change the situation, and on the other hand I am filled with anger over a government which does not listen to the desires of the people."

Aziz believed that "we have already crossed the point of no return."

Habba Azli, a 25-year-old physiotherapist, said that "the president is just an evil man, if after all that has happened he continues to remain enclosed in his palace and doesnt resign."

The protesters in the square are carrying signs saying "Game over Mr. Mubarak."

Mubarak's speech and the cabinet's decision to resign were not enough for the masses that flooded the streets of Cairo and other major cities in the country, and the riots gradually increased toward the afternoon.

So far there have reports of dozens of casualties in the protests. Egypt's medical sources have reported over 45 dead, 38 of whom were killed during the last two days. Al Jazeera reported that there were over 2,000 injured during the days of protest.

Meanwhile, reports of looting have revealed that mummies have been destroyed in Egypt's national museum.



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