A million-person noose marched its way around the neck of Hosni Mubarak’s regime on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of Egyptians took over the centres of Cairo and Alexandria in response to opposition calls for a ‘March of a Million’. In a further blow to the Egyptian president, the army declared it would not use force against demonstrators making “legitimate demands.”
These were the largest protests in a week of demands for Mubarak to quit after nearly 30 years in power.
Reflecting the sense that Mubarak’s days are numbered, the Indian foreign ministry said the protests were an “articulation of the aspirations of the Egyptian people for reform”. It made no mention of Mubarak. Previous statements had avoided any mention of protestors.
The army’s announcement, that it “will not use force against the people”, was a sign that military support for Mubarak is dwindling. An embattled president offered to open “immediate talks” with opposition groups.
Frank Wisner, former US envoy to India, has flown to Cairo. The US said he was going as a private citizen, but he would “reinforce what we’ve already said” during his stay.