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Egypt VP says government will not tolerate civil disobedience

Omar Suleiman says hasty reforms could bring chaos

AFP, Wednesday 9 Feb 2011
Omar Suleiman
Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman said government will not tolerate civil disobediance Tuesday and cautioned against hasty political reforms as hundreds of thousands staged the biggest protest so far in the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak's rule.

Suleiman, recently appointed by Mubarak who made a series of concessions after unprecedented anti-government protests, also said the government would not brook civil disobedience.

"Dialogue and understanding are the first way to achieve stability in the country and to exit the crisis peacefully, with a programme of continuous steps to solve all problems," official media quoted him as saying.

"The second, alternative way, would be a coup -- and we want to avoid that -- meaning uncalculated and hasty steps that produce more irrationality," the official MENA news agency quoted him as telling local editors.

Suleiman said the government would continue talking with political factions and youth who spearheaded the protests, "affirming there will be no ending of the regime, nor a coup, because that means chaos," MENA reported.

The former intelligence chief also warned against calls for "civil disobedience", saying "the call is extremely dangerous for society, and we absolutely do not tolerate it."
MENA and state television did not say whether he spelt out what he meant by civil disobedience.

Thousands of protesters have camped out for days in a downtown Cairo square calling for the removal of Mubarak, but the army, deployed after nationwide rioting on January 28, has not tried to disperse them.

"We do not want to deal with Egyptian society using policing tools," Suleiman said.

He added that the country could not cope for a long period with "the paralysis public services have been subjected to, brought about by the closure of banks, schools, universities, and the interruption of transportation."

He blamed the large number of protesters who demonstrate in the downtown Cairo Tahrir Square along with "satellite channels that insult and belittle Egypt" for causing "citizens to hesitate to go to work."

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded the iconic square and towns across Egypt on Tuesday, in the biggest show of defiance towards Mubarak since the protests began on January 25.

The vice president has begun meeting representatives of some opposition parties -- including the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, but not some of the street protest groups -- to draw up plans for a democratic transition.

Mubarak has vowed not to stand for reelection in September, but opposition groups say any vote to replace the 82-year-old strongman would not be fair under Egypt's current constitution.
 

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Dave Takaki
10-02-2011 12:32am
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Omar Suleiman
Vice President Omar Suleiman warns of chaos and "dark bats of the night". He should know, since after all, he is the Batmaster.
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