Transition plan fails to stop protests

 

CAIRO – Egyptian officials have
announced a plan and timetable for the peaceful transfer of power, as
protesters called more demonstrations to show their campaign to oust President
Hosni Mubarak remains potent.

 With signs growing that the government may be
gaining the upper hand in the struggle for power, Vice President Omar Suleiman
promised no reprisals against the protesters for their two-week campaign to
eject Mubarak after 30 years in office.

However, protesters camped on
Cairo’s Tahrir Square accused the government of merely playing for time, and
swore they would not give up until the current “half revolution” was
complete. “

A clear road map has been put in
place with a set timetable to realise the peaceful and organised transfer of
power,” said Suleiman, a long-time intelligence chief who has led talks
with opposition groups including the Muslim Brotherhood — Mubarak’s sworn
enemy.

So far the government has conceded
little ground in the talks.

The embattled 82-year-old
president, who has promised to stand down when his term expires in September,
appears to be weathering the storm engulfing Egypt, at least for the moment.

People on Tahrir Square are
sceptical about the talks and suspicious of the government’s motives.

Opposition figures have reported
little progress in the talks with the government.

The official news agency said
Mubarak issued a decree ordering the establishment of a committee to study and
propose legal and constitutional amendments, which he has promised as part of
his concessions.

The Muslim Brotherhood, by far the
best organised opposition group, said it could quit the process if protesters’
demands were not met, including the immediate exit of Mubarak.

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Tahrir Square in central Cairo has been the focal point of the protests
Photo: BBC