Crowds pour into Tahrir Square awaiting good news from Mubarak

Ahram Online, Thursday 10 Feb 2011

President's much-anticipated address to the nation puts it on tenterhooks

Tahrir Square
Anti-government protesters celebrate after a senior army general addressed the crowd inside Tahrir Square (Photo: reuters)

Crowds in Tahrir Square have been growing since it was announced that President Mubarak will be addressing the nation tonight, with speculation rife that he is to step down.

Karim Ennarah told Ahram Online from the square that people there "are slightly optimistic but confused, everyone's on edge."

Following news of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announcing that it will remain in an open-ended session in order to safeguard "the people's achievements and demands" - interpreted widely as indicating that the Egyptian army has effectively seized political power in the country - Wael Ghonim, the activist and Google regional marketing executive whose Facebook group “We are all Khaled Saeed” was instrumental kick-starting the 25 January uprising, and recently released from a 12-day detention, said earlier in the evening on Twitter: “Mission accomplished. Thanks to all the brave young Egyptians.”

Receiving immediate feedback from protesters and activists – both online and at Tahrir square, the epicenter of the protests – that his pronouncement may have been premature, he quickly qualified his statement just a few minutes later, tweeting: “Guys, dont do much speculations for now. Just wait and see”

If Mubarak does step down, it is still unsure who he might delegate his authority to, with the army suddenly coming into the picture since the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces' earlier statement.

In the meantime, Tahrir is bubbling with an air of keen anticipation. "People want to celebrate here once the announcement is made," said Ennarah.

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