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What Can the Protests in Egypt Achieve?

Updated January 28, 2011 07:37 PM

What Can the Protests in Egypt Achieve?


protests in EgyptKhaled El Fiqi/European Pressphoto Agency Protesters in downtown Cairo on Jan. 27. View more photographs.

Thousands of demonstrators calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak poured from mosques in Cairo after noon prayers on Friday, as anti-government protests continued for a fourth day across Egypt. In Cairo and other cities, the police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. Mr. Mubarak later appeared on television and ordered his government to resign, but did not offer to step down himself. He has backed the military's attempts to contain the unrest around the country.

President Obama held a press conference on Friday to say that he had spoken with Mr. Mubarak, who has ruled for nearly 30 years, and called on the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters. Mr. Obama also said that his administration has pressed the Mr. Mubarak to enact political reforms.

Can these protests, which seem to involve people from many walks of life and with many different motivations, form the foundation of a strong opposition movement? What should the world and the West be watching for?


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