EGYPT’S INTERIM CABINET has tendered its resignation in an effort to bring an end to violence which has marked the country’s capital for three days.
At least 24 people have been confirmed dead in clashes between protesters calling for urgent political reform and riot police attempting to clear them from Tahrir Square, the centre point of the revolution which pushed former president Hosni Mubarak out of office in February.
Crowds in the square had become up to 10,000-strong this evening, and people cheered when news broke out about the cabinet’s offer.
However, the crowds are showing no sign of dispersing with many refusing to leave until the current ruling military fully steps down and hands power over to a democratically-elected government. Elections are due to be held in seven days. The country’s deputy prime minister insists today that those elections will go ahead.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has not announced if it will accept the resignations.
Political analyst Sabrey Hafez told Al Jazeera television that he believes the military is making “the same stupid mistakes” as Mubarak in attempting to hold onto power and finding scapegoats for their unpopularity in the form of the cabinet. Cairo University political professor Ibraham Arafat said the military has lost the support of the people.
Jamal Himdan of the Muslim Brother said that the resignations aren’t enough to appease the protesters who want to see major change being introduced.
“The current situation in Tahrir Square has been extremely volatile,” he said, adding that Tahrir Square should be declared a safe zone for the freedom to protest. So far the group, which was so central to the uprising earlier this year, has refused to take to the streets in the current protests.
BBC correspondent Wyre Davies tweeted this evening from Tahrir that many of those who died in the violence were “suffocated” by heavy tear gas use, while others were unconscious from inhaling it.