For over a week, protestors have taken to the streets of Egypt to voice their displeasure with President Hosni Mubarak. The demonstrations turned violent when police began to use brutal force to crack down on the protestors. Unconfirmed reports claim that up to 300 people may have so far been killed during the protests.
Mubarak, 82, finally conceding to growing calls for his resignation, announced that he plans not to seek re-election in September. However, he vowed to finish his term and to spend the remainder of his life in Egypt. This figures to signal the end of an era for Egypt, which has been ruled by Mubarak for three decades.
The American response to the Egyptian protests has been mixed. President Obama has yet to directly call for Mubarak’s resignation, but the United States has hardly been convincing in its support for Mubarak, a rare American ally in the Arab World. Obama said that while it is not the role of any outside country to determine Egypt’s leaders, he indicated to Mubarak that an orderly transition “must begin now.”
John Entelis, director of Middle East studies at New York’s Fordham University, said the Middle East is facing a wave of unrest due to the recent revolts in Tunisia. Other recent demonstrations and protests have occurred in Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, and Sudan.
For more stories on the crisis in Egypt, click here.