Did Egypt Uprising Foster Stability Or Chaos?
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
For days now, the Egyptian army has held its fire in Cairo. Soldiers have preserved their ammunition and their credibility, saying they support Egypt's protesters and presumably waiting for a moment like this.
INSKEEP: NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in Cairo.
SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON: Unidentified Man #2: (Foreign language spoken)
SARHADDI NELSON: Protestors started bickering over whether the Egyptian president should stay or go, and whether it would help or hurt.
HOSNI MUBARAK: (Foreign language spoken)
SARHADDI NELSON: In Tahrir Square, the main site of demonstrations in Cairo, protester Amr Gharbeia says the growing chaos threatens the future of the popular movement.
AMR GHARBEIA: This is a moment that I think that disagreement is beginning to emerge, and a good part of the blame is being thrown on the protesters rather than the cause of their problems. And by trying to extend the crisis, the regime is hoping to decrease the support of the protestors - the protesters are getting from Egyptians at large.
SARHADDI NELSON: Some protesters, like Mohammad Khalil, say Mubarak's pledge not to run in this fall's presidential elections satisfied many who packed up and went home. He said it was a step in the right direction and the transition needed to be orderly.
MOHAMMAD KHALIL: Well, it's not enough, okay, but it's gradually to be enough, because this is Egypt. The president cannot just leave the next day. It'll be a massive mess.
SARHADDI NELSON: Mona Makram Ebeid is a leader of Al-Wafd, the largest government-sanctioned opposition party.
MONA MAKRAM EBEID: The whole problem is the timing. All this, had it been done the day after the first insurrection on the 25th January, nothing of all what has happened since would have been taken place.
SARHADDI NELSON: She adds for now, her group and other political parties and leaders of the anti-Mubarak coalition are united in their refusal to hold talks with his Cabinet unless he leaves. The coalition is also seeking to replace parliament, which is widely viewed as a rubber stamp for Mubarak and his party. The president last night asked lawmakers to review recent Egyptian court rulings challenging parliament's legitimacy and to address constitutional changes that could open presidential elections this fall to candidates not in the ruling party. Ebeid says that is not enough.
MAKRAM EBEID: We wanted the parliament to be dissolved completely, because this is what people are asking for, and not only the protesters - everybody in Egypt.
SARHADDI NELSON: Again, protester Amr Gharbeia.
GHARBEIA: Unidentified Group: (Chanting in foreign language)
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
SARHADDI NELSON: Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Cairo.
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