RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
First came the revolution in Tunisia. Now come protests elsewhere in the Arab world. In Egypt, they're calling for an end to three decades of rule by President Hosni Mubarak. The unrest has claimed the lives of several protesters and at least one policeman this week. The U.S. weighed in yesterday with some stronger-than-usual diplomatic language for its close ally. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Egypt to respond to the protesters' calls for reforms. Our correspondent in Cairo, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, joins us on the line. And Soraya, what's happening today?
SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON: But in the - generally what seems to be happening, or the trend is that these sort of protests start picking up late in the afternoon and they go all the way through the night, into the predawn hours, and then things slow down for a little bit in the morning, where I guess, people are sort of catching their breath and getting some sleep.
MONTAGNE: You were in Tunisia earlier this month, Soraya. How do these protests there in Egypt compare?
SARHADDI NELSON: The other thing that's important to note is that we've seen police forces, we've seen demonstrators. We've seen nothing of the army, and I think that's going to be a really crucial role about whether the army comes out and stands on the side of the people or stands on the side of the government, or doesn't get involved at all.
MONTAGNE: And the protests, give us a sense of who's leading them.
SARHADDI NELSON: But it's important to note that Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate, is expected to come back to Egypt tonight. He was seen, for a while anyway, as sort of a de facto leader of the opposition, or of the growing popular movement. It will be interesting to see if he tries to take on that role again when he returns.
MONTAGNE: Soraya, thanks very much for joining us.
SARHADDI NELSON: You're welcome.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson speaking to us from Cairo
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