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Egyptian Cabinet Submits Resignation Amid Protests

Protesters, Police Clash In Cairoi
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November 21, 2011
Police clashed with protesters and used tear gas against them near the Interior Ministry on a third day of unrest in Cairo. At least 12 people have died in the clashes since November 19, when the new wave of protests began. Demonstrators are voicing opposition to Egypt's provisional military rulers seeking to increase their power. Reuters video

Police clashed with protesters and used tear gas against them near the Interior Ministry on a third day of unrest in Cairo. At least 12 people have died in the clashes since November 19, when the new wave of protests began. Demonstrators are voicing oppos

WATCH: Police clashed with protesters and used tear gas against them near the Interior Ministry on a third day of unrest in Cairo. (Video by Reuters)

By Kristin Deasy

Egypt's military-appointed government submitted its resignation tonight in an attempt to calm the situation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where for a third day thousands of demonstrators rallied to demand a civilian government

Cabinet spokesman Mohammed Hegazy said that the government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had submitted its resignation to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, but it was not immediately clear whether the military council had accepted it.

The three days of demonstrations have been marred by violent clashes between security forces and demonstrators.

The death toll has reached at least 24, with more than 1,750 injured.

Today brought fresh reports of security forces firing tear gas, rubber bullets and, according to some eyewitnesses, live ammunition at young men in the streets around the square.

The resurgence of the protests reflects growing public anger over the slow pace of reforms following the February ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak and concerns that the country's provisional military rulers will try to retain power.

The violence also comes little more than a week before Egyptians are scheduled to start voting in key parliamentary elections on November 28.

State television has also reported protests in the Mediterranean city of  Alexandria and the canal city of Suez.

Today, Ayman Nour, the leader of Egypt's Al-Ghad party and a candidate in the 2012 presidential election, said those responsible for the violence must be held accountable.

"The first demand in the statement is an immediate end to all acts of violence toward demonstrators and the initiation of a fair and transparent, legislative and political investigation of those responsible for the events that have been taking place in Tahrir Square and several other squares in Egypt in the past few hours," he said.

World leaders also condemned the bloodshed, with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling on authorities to guarantee the right to peaceful protest.

In Washington, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the United States supports the goal of having a democratically elected civilian government in Egypt and said upcoming parliamentary elections were crucial.

"The United States is deeply concerned by the violence in Egypt over the past few days. We deplore the loss of life and our condolences go out to the families of the victims of this violence. In the coming days, it will be very important for all parties to focus on holding free, fair, and peaceful elections as scheduled, on November 28. We urge all involved to act with restraint in order to allow free and fair elections to proceed," Nuland said.

Protesters and riot police face off near Tahrir Square in Cairo on November 21.
Protesters and riot police face off near Tahrir Square in Cairo on November 21.

Twenty-four-year-old Sabry Khaled, a dentist from the northern city of Giza, was shot twice in the back with rubber bullets during the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, the center of the protests that led to the end of Mubarak's 30-year rule.

He told RFE/RL that people are fed up with the country's military rulers.

"They are sick of the SCAF [Supreme Council of the Armed Forces] violations. They [are] saying that SCAF is even worse than Mubarak -- that it's the same as the Mubarak regime when it comes to dealing with peaceful protests," Khaled says. "They hate everything about the military rule. We're chanting all the time, 'Esqat Esqat Hukm-ul- Askar,' which means, 'Down with military rule.'"

For months, rights groups have been criticizing Egypt's military leadership over its treatment of opposition activists.

Human Rights Watch issued a report in March condemning the "brutal" tactics being used to repress dissent, such the reported use of torture on detainees and the trial of civilians in closed military courts.

Protester Ahmad Aiyad, a 23-year-old entrepreneur, joined the crowds at Tahrir Square on November 20.

"What's really tragic is that people are being shot and killed on national television [and] people are not moving," Aiyad says. "And I don't think that people [in power], the government, or the military council, is acknowledging what's happening. ... [It's] like they're saying, 'We didn't kill anyone' and it's on TV. It's live. Everybody can see it in the world. I don't know. We [protesters] are not getting enough support."

Although Egypt's ruling military denies any attempt to maintain power past the proposed transfer to civilian rule, protesters are leery.

Flyers are circulating among them calling for the withdrawal of the constitutional proposal. The protesters say the draft constitution would allow the provisional military rulers to retain too much power even after a new civilian government is elected.

Others demand that presidential elections be held no later than April 2012.

Aiyad says the violence has protesters in Tahrir feeling like they are back at "square one" when it comes to political reform. But he's still hopeful that this time around, things will end differently.

A protester prepares to hurl a tear-gas canister back at security forces as others run for cover on the third day of clashes on Tahrir Square in Cairo on November 21.
A protester prepares to hurl a tear-gas canister back at security forces as others run for cover on the third day of clashes on Tahrir Square in Cairo on November 21.

"The people in the square are so determined [that] they are not moving," Aiyad says. "Right now, as soon as I'm finished work, I'm going back there and I might stay the night. The problem is, we need a way out, which we don't have at the moment. We hope that some sort of a leadership will arise. I don't know, but right now we are just working on a scenario.

"People on the policymakers level are...trying to come up with solutions...like forcing the national government to resign, like giving us a new national government that can actually implement our demands, that can actually accomplish what we have revolted for."

In a statement read out on state-run television, the government said the unrest will not derail the elections. The staggered ballots to the lower and upper houses are to be held from November 28 through mid-March.

with agency reports
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by: cojonius maximus from: chicago usa
November 21, 2011 15:49
When the middle east party got started earlier this year with "the arab spring" in Cairo, I suggested that the the relatively mild reaction from Mubarak would not be repeated in places like Yemen, Libya and Syria. I also predicted that the Mubrak government would be replaced by, in the best case scenario, a military dictatorship, and that rebellions in places like Libya and Syria would result in hundreds, if not thousands of casualties.

The high brow readers of this site called me insane, ignorant a warmongering maniac, a birdbrain etc..etc..etc..

Those comments and the idiots that made them were obviously mistaken.
In Response

by: Fact from: Grozny
November 21, 2011 17:00
Well then I completely agree with you. You were right.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 21, 2011 18:56
Cojonius, yes, I very well remember your "controvercial" comment, suggesting - if I am not mistaken - that the US occupy the Suez Channel, the Egyptian pyramids and of all the McDonald's in Cairo (to protect US economic interests :-). Well, and, yes, one has to admit: all the fools who criticized back than have been proved wrong by History and you are an genious who has not (yet) been understood by contemporaries :-). But don't worry: next year Obama will have been gone and his place will be taken over by some Bachman, or Cain, or Perry, who will unoubtedly implement at least a part of your policy recommendations - just as successfully as Georgie did something similar in Afghanistan :-)).
In Response

by: cojonius maximus from: USA
November 21, 2011 21:50
Eugenio:
From your lips to God's ears. Obama has done incredible harm to the republic and his ham handed intervention in the middle east has dangerously destabilized that region. ... Every time one of these half ass dictators bites the dust, the Iranians get closer to the re-establishment of the Caliphate...It is notable that the least at-risk of the dictatorships is Syria, a country with close ties to the "Assaholas". From your name I assume that you have some Spaniard in your background as do I. Remember that the last time the Islamist made their move, it took our ancestors 700 years or so to get rid of the bastards.

It's ok though, I think that the Israelis may force the hand and save us all. Don't think for a minute that the Saudis aren't rooting for an air s rike from the IDF on the Iranian bomb factories.
In Response

by: cojonius maximus from: USA
November 21, 2011 21:57
BTW Eugenio:
Your grammar and spelling are atrocious and your attempts at sacrasm and irony are purile; and as we say in the good old USA "one nutted"

by: Hideous behin computerous from: California usa
November 21, 2011 17:44
It was obvious from the start... what military is going to write up a new government where they aren't in control?

Now all of Egypt see's that the military is not on their side and a major shitstorm is brewing.

You have to admire the bravery of these egyption civilians... 22 or more have already died in so few days and yet look how many remain on the streets, the will of the egyptian people is strong and I hope they get what they deserve: a government which answers to the people.

by: Sergey from: Chicago, USA
November 23, 2011 06:24
"For months, rights groups have been criticizing Egypt's military leadership over its treatment of opposition activists."

And guess who is the biggest beneficiary of the unrest in the Egypt and the wider Middle East aka "Arab Spring" ? It's Muslim Brotherhood--pan Islamist organization founded in Egypt in 1920's. This organization has spawned Hamas, Al-Qaida and plenty of other Islamic Terror Groups. The Brotherhood and its offshoots are well-known to use combination of electoral methods, terror, and street violence to seize power. Think of Hamas (the offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood) taking over power in Gaza.

Here is a good summary of the Brotherhood strategy to seize power in Egypt and beyond.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/150020#.TsyKxGO5MVA

As for the rights groups (HRW, Amnesty International, etc ), they have become little more than propaganda mouthpiece of Muslim Brotherhood. Do these clueless rights activists think that if Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots wrest control of the Egypt from the military either through violence or elections (or combinations of both), the human rights will improve ? How, for instance, the imposition of Sharia Law that the Brotherhood swears to implement after coming to power will improve the rights of women, Christians, etc ? Egypt's military council is the only thing left to keep Islamists from dominating Egypt. If they surrender power to Islamists, then be prepared for many more horrors to come out of the Middle East.

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