Mubarak, family leaves Cairo-UPDATED

Al Arabiya reported that Mubarak and his family left Cairo, as protests shift to presidential palace, state TV building

Mubarak, family leaves Cairo-UPDATED

Al Arabiya television reported on Friday that President Hosni Mubarak and his family had left Cairo to an unknown destination from a military airbase in the suburbs. It did not give a source. A senior military source contacted by Reuters declined to comment on the report

Al Arabiya had initially reported "news" that Mubarak and his family had left Egypt.

The news comes as protesters moved overnight to the Ittihadiya presidential palace in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis for the first time since protests started in Jan. 25.

The protesters gathered up against a barbed wire cordon around the palace, about 50 metres (yards) from the palace walls at its closest point.

Tanks and soldiers of the elite Republican Guard, responsible for the president's security, surrounded the palace, a Reuters witness said.

"The Republican Guard are protecting the presidential palaces," an armed forces source told Reuters.

Enraged by President Hosni Mubarak's determination to stay in office, Egyptians rallied in protest outside his Cairo palace on Friday, dismissing army guarantees of a transition to free elections as insufficient.

Hundreds of thousands performed Friday prayers in Tahrir Square, where robed Islamic clerics drew parallels between the protesters' struggle with Mubarak and that of the Prophet Moses with the ancient pharaoh. "May God force out the oppressors!" the clerics chanted. "Amen, amen," responded the worshippers.

Outside the presidential palace, men prayed behind army vehicles. The military did not interfere, though they had blocked the main roads leading to the palace, a vast, walled complex where Mubarak conducts much of his official business.

"Down, down Hosni Mubarak!" chanted the protesters, some of hundreds who had walked for more than an hour to reach the palace on Thursday night, redeploying from the epicentre of the protest in Tahrir Square in central Cairo.

"Get out! Why are you staying? shouted five elderly women. "Thirty years is enough," they screamed, addressing the 82-year old president. The protesters outside the palace numbered some 2,000 by afternoon.

It was the first protest rally outside the palace since Jan. 25, when the revolt began. People familiar with presidential affairs said it was unlikely that Mubarak was there.

"We won't leave until Mubarak steps down and God willing, today's protest will be peaceful," said Yasmine Mohamed, 23, a university student. "Everything will turn out good and he will step down for sure."

A member of one of the youth movements behind the protests that erupted on Jan. 25 said the demonstrators would "take over the palace". "We'll have masses of Egyptians after Friday prayer to take it over," said Ahmed Farouk, 27.

In Egypt's second city Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets after Friday prayers. Sheikh Ahmed al-Mahalawi, delivering a sermon in Alexandria's main mosque, told worshippers not to back down.

"Do not retreat from your revolution because history will not retreat," he said in a sermon broadcast by Al Jazeera television. He told the worshippers they were bringing down a "corrupt regime" that was not fit to govern.

Uninhibited by the army, thousands moved the short distance from Tahrir Square to the state television headquarters, positioning themselves outside the Nile riverside building shielded by army vehicles, dozens of soldiers and barbed wire.

In Tahrir Square, protesters voiced disbelief at Mubarak's resolve to stay in office after three decades in power. "We're asking you to leave and you don't leave!" read one banner.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians had packed into the square on Thursday night, expecting Mubarak to yield to popular pressure and announce his resignation during a televised speech.

Instead, he angered them by announcing changes including a decision to sign presidential powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman, also the target of protester chants against Mubarak's administration. "Oh Suleiman, oh Suleiman, we don't want you either!" chanted the protesters.

Army promises announced on Friday, including guarantees of a free and fair presidential election and the lifting of the hated state of emergency "as soon as the current circumstances are over", did not appear to sap the protesters' determination.

"It's a gain, but at the same time, Mubarak needs to go, the people want him to go, that's the first demand," said Mohammed Sabri, 26, a fine arts student who was demonstrating outside the television building.

In Tahrir Square, one protester used a loudspeaker to relay the army statement to the crowds. "This is not our demand, we have one demand: that Mubarak step down," he said.

Thousands of protesters marched into the square chanting: "The army and the people are one".

As the call for prayer rang out at noon, rows of worshippers knelt in the centre of Tahrir. On the outskirts the festival atmosphere continued, with protest groups singing, rapping, waving flags and many families with children present.

Alexandria cleric urges protesters not to back down

In Egypt's second city Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets after Friday prayers. Sheikh Ahmed al-Mahalawi, delivering a sermon in Alexandria's main mosque, told worshippers not to back down.

"Do not retreat from your revolution because history will not retreat," he said in a sermon broadcast by Al Jazeera television. He told the worshippers they were bringing down a "corrupt regime" that was not fit to govern.

A statement circulated in the square said the protesters had no option but to move to the presidential palace after Mubarak's "tyrannical speech".

"We call on the great Egyptian public to head there and set up a sit-in around the palace until he is exiled and a civilian government is in place that meets the aspirations of the people," said the unattributed statement.

The protesters also vented their anger at Suleiman, the former military general and long-time intelligence chief appointed vice-president by Mubarak last month. "Oh Suleiman, oh Suleiman, we don't want you either!" chanted the protesters.

Reuters

Last Mod: 11 Şubat 2011, 16:58
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Aziz
Aziz - 10 yıl Before

Gongratulations to the Great PEOPLE of Great Nation! May Allah(SWT) bring you stability and peace! Regards from Uzbekistan