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March of Millions

Hello everyone. Tom spent the day in Tahrir Square during the “March of Millions” today in Cairo, working closely with CNN’s Ben Wedeman. Here is some of what he had to say:

After spending the day in Tahrir, I have to say that today’s progress is just about as good as the Egyptian people could ask for. Further violence has been mitigated so far, thanks in large part to the Egyptian military operating security around the square and the work of a group of Egyptian citizens who have been helping them.

The mood in the square is electric, and the unity of the people cannot be overstressed. I’ve seen imams and priests hand in hand atop the shoulders of supporters, expressing their unified anti-Mubarak message.

The numbers here in Tahrir are amazing. I would estimate that there are nearly a million people, but admittedly it’s hard to tell. The entire square and many of the roads leading in and out of it are literally jam-packed with people standing together, with barely enough room to move.

The crowd includes all kinds of Egyptians: young men with families and children; muslims from al-Azhar mosque and Coptic christians; wealthy, upper middle-class citizens and poor women and men who live day by day on the streets. This crowd has it all.

I was stopped on numerous occasions throughout the day so that Egyptians could tell me that the Muslim Brotherhood would not take over any free elections that they have. This seems to be a very serious concern of theirs.

President Mubarak addressed the Egyptian people this evening, stating that he will not run for reelection, but that he plans to stay in power until then in order to ensure a peaceful transition. From what I have seen on the news, along with what Tom says, it does not seem that this plan of action will be enough to satisfy the determined protesters in Tahrir Square and throughout Egypt. I guess we will just have to see how this plays out.

Nellie

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