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2nd Day of Violence as Police Battle Protesters; Jordan PM Talks With Rivals; Yemen President to Step Down in 2013; Obama Abandons Mubarak

By Mike Shedlock on 02/02/2011 – 11:00 pm PSTLeave a Comment

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is finding that it’s difficult to give the people a “little bit of democracy”. Millions of protesters want reform now, not 8 months from now.

Following six days of mostly peaceful protests, Mubarak made a decision to counter protesters by unleashing the “baltageya” plainclothes police armed with rocks, knives, and clubs.

With that, a peaceful ending that seemed possible two days ago took a sharp turn for the worse. And after days of sitting on the fence, President Obama finally took a decisive stand, calling for Mubarak to leave “Now”.

Mubarak Supporters Strike Back With Clubs, Rocks, Knives

Violence took an unfortunate turn for the worse as Mubarak’s Allies and Foes Clash in Egypt

President Hosni Mubarak struck back at his opponents, unleashing waves of his supporters armed with clubs, rocks, knives and firebombs in a concerted assault on thousands of antigovernment protesters in Tahrir Square calling for an end to his authoritarian rule.

The deadly clashes that started Wednesday carried into Thursday morning, when shots were fired at the anti-Mubarak protesters, a number of witnesses said. It was unclear whether the shots came from the pro-government demonstrators or from the military forces stationed in the square.

The Egyptian military, with tanks and soldiers stationed around the square, neither stopped the violence on Wednesday nor attacked the protesters. Soldiers watched from behind the iron fence of the Egyptian Museum, occasionally shooting their water cannons, but only to extinguish flames ignited by the firebombs.

Only two days after the military pledged not to fire on protesters, it was unclear where the army stood. Many protesters contended that Mr. Mubarak was provoking a confrontation in order to prompt a military crackdown.

Mohamed ElBaradei, who was designated to negotiate with the government on behalf of the opposition, demanded that the army move in and protect the protesters. “The army has to take a stand,” he said in a television interview. “I expect the Egyptian Army to interfere today.”

The deployment of plainclothes forces paid by Mr. Mubarak’s ruling party — men known here as baltageya — has been a hallmark of the Mubarak government, and there were many signs that the violence was carefully choreographed.

Please read the rest of that story. Mubarak planned this violence. I suspect some will now want his head.

Arab World Faces Its Uncertain Future

The New York Times reports Arab World Faces Its Uncertain Future

The future of the Arab world, perched between revolt and the contempt of a crumbling order, was fought for in the streets of downtown Cairo on Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of protesters who have reimagined the very notion of citizenship in a tumultuous week of defiance proclaimed with sticks, home-made bombs and a shower of rocks that they would not surrender their revolution to the full brunt of an authoritarian government that answered their calls for change with violence.

The Arab world watched a moment that suggested it would never be the same again — and waited to see whether protest or crackdown would win the day. Words like “uprising” and “revolution” only hint at the scale of events in Egypt, which have already reverberated across Yemen, Jordan, Syria and even Saudi Arabia, offering a new template for change in a region that long reeled from its own sense of stagnation. “Every Egyptian understands now,” said Magdi al-Sayyid, one of the protesters.

Everyone seemed joined in the moment, fists, batons and rocks banging any piece of metal to rally themselves

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Related Articles:

  1. Egypt Closes Banks, Stock Market; Protests Spread to Saudi Arabia, Jordan; Saudi King Backs Mubarak; Reflections on Misguided US Policy
  2. Mubarak’s Acts of Cowardice; Obama Calls Mubarak for 30-Minutes; Cell Service, Internet Total Shutdown; Anarchy in Cairo; How Long can Mubarak Last?
  3. Egypt Shuts Down Internet, Blackberry, Text Messages; Mubarak Rival Returns to Egypt; Protests Rattle Yemen; Only Certainty is Uncertainty
  4. Readout of the President’s Call with President Mubarak of Egypt
  5. Readout of President Obama’s Meeting with President Mubarak of Egypt

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