Crest Fallen Protesters March Again Against Mubarak
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
And Mr. Hamid, where have you been today?
SHADI HAMID: Right now, I'm outside of Midan Tahrir, where crowds are piling into the square. You know, we're at least at tens of thousands now, probably more. Seems like today, it's picking up. And, you know, there's a lot of tension in the air today, maybe in contrast to (technical difficulties) gatherings.
INSKEEP: There was much excitement yesterday. And today, you're saying the atmosphere is tense.
HAMID: So it's hard to understand, really, what happened, but there were clearly a lot of backroom negotiations between the military and regime officials, including Mubarak himself.
INSKEEP: Well, the military has come out with another statement today, headlined communique number two. And this statement says, among other things, that the military confirms the lifting of the state of emergency as soon as the current circumstances end. That seems to be a promise to lift a draconian law that allows arbitrary arrests and other things, lifting that law that's been in place for decades, if people go home. Is that how you understand the military's statement?
HAMID: So I don't really see that as being, you know, a big step in the right direction - at least not as far as the protestors are concerned.
INSKEEP: Just yesterday, Mohamed ElBaradei, the Noble Prize winner, was saying Egypt must be saved by the army, suggesting perhaps that he wanted the army to take affirmative steps here. Is the army losing credibility as time goes on?
HAMID: So we're not talking about a pro-democracy organization here. And I think that's why people, you know, people are starting to get disappointed. And the military's credibility was damaged yesterday, because they promised one thing, but failed to deliver. So I think we're going to start to see a reassessment of the military's role in Egypt.
INSKEEP: OK. Mr. Hamid, always a pleasure to speak with you.
HAMID: Thank you for having me.
INSKEEP: This is NPR News.
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