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Mubarak Speaks as Protesters Fill Tahrir Square Again
April 10, 2011

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The protesters are once again ensconced in Cairo's Tahrir Square, with numbers as big as before. Their target is now the current leader of the government.

Since President Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11, a group of military leaders, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, has ruled the country, suspending the constitution and meeting other protester demands, such as scheduling free and fair parliamentary elections. The head of that military council is Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who was appointed by Mubarak.

In recent days, growing numbers of protesters have taken to the streets again, calling for more information from the ruling military council and, in some cases, going so far as to demand the resignation of Tantawi, because of his connection to Mubarak. The military council has disbanded the unpopular secret police, but that has not been enough for the protesters, who want to see punishment for the officials who ran the program.

The military got involved on Friday, when the orders came down to disperse the huge crowd. Soliders wielding tasers and batons attempted to convince the crowd to leave Tahrir Square. Guns were fired eventually, although the army said soldiers fired in the air and not at protesters, and the result was two deaths and 13 people injured.

A large part of the crowd left, but more than 1,000 remained, sitting or standing behind barbed wire and burned-out tanks, much as before.

Meanwhile, Mubarak spoke out for the first time in public, defending his legacy and vowing to cooperate with investigations into allegations of his owning foreign property or bank accounts. He and his sons are the subject of an investigation announced by the prosecutor general, who has said that the investigation would be into not only the Mubarak family's assets distribution but also about the violent crackdown that resulted in 300 people dead.

Mubarak, under house arrest, spoke from his Red Sea resort, Sharm el-Sheikh.



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