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Thousands continue to protest across Egypt and remain determined

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JASMINA METWALY, JOURNALIST, CAIRO: Yesterday, people went back to work. Banks reopened, restaurants, supermarkets. [inaudible] bridges [inaudible] packed with cars, and it’s like nothing is happening. And then you reach Tahrir Square and it’s packed with people, more than the day before yesterday, more than three days ago. And yesterday I felt like the whole world was not watching anymore. I think things changed yesterday. It’s not, like, hot news anymore. When I talk to some of my friends in Egypt who went back to work, some of those people, they went [inaudible] Tahrir Square, and they think that they’re part of this whole thing. They participated, okay, I did my share, and now I’m back to my life. I think a lot of people here in the country, the middle class, they forgot completely about how it all started and how many people got killed, how many people got literally slaughtered. Like, you don’t hear about it that much on TV. I met a guy who was telling me about another person who [inaudible] slaughtered in the middle of–in downtown, in the middle of capital, heart of the Middle East. Crime against humanity. I think the world should keep watching.

AHMED MOOR, JOURNALIST, CAIRO: Many of the protesters that we’ve seen have continued to come out. The numbers have remained large. estimates that 1 million people showed up yesterday for the prayer day for martyrs in the Square and around the city. I know protests have been ongoing around the country as well, and the numbers have remained strong there also. We’ve seen some return to normalcy around the city with the opening of banks, bakeries, and other kinds of basic economic activity that people rely on to survive. You have to really remember that many of the people who live in Cairo subsist on a day-to-day basis, and so they really do need to work. They don’t have savings. They do need to work to live. So in that respect I think that some of the normalcy is positive. But the determination in Tahrir Square remains. The numbers remain strong. And there’s no expectation that that’s going to end. Right now, protest leaders are calling for another massive day of protests on Tuesday, and then another one on Friday of this week. And so they will be maintaining pressure on the regime. The political concern’s focused on Mubarak and his regime, and that includes [Omar] Suleiman. People haven’t wavered in that fundamental demand that Suleiman goes. Now, what’s interesting is that WikiLeaks just released a cable that reveals some of Suleiman’s views about the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, those views aren’t particularly surprising, but the timing of the WikiLeaks is interesting, just because it may complicate Suleiman’s interactions, his negotiations with the Muslim Brotherhood, who have come out and said that really what the government is offering, what Suleiman’s offering, is insufficient. They, too, haven’t wavered on that fundamental demand that Mubarak go. And so you are seeing this united front maintain its cohesion in the face of these new developments. People have known all along that America supports the corrupt regime. A period of initial optimism about Joe Biden’s comments has dissipated, largely, after the US envoy, [Frank] Wisner, came out to Cairo and threw his support behind the regime, and Mubarak specifically. The understanding is that America will work for America’s best interests.

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