tv BBC World News PBS January 29, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PST
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>> and now, "bbc world news." >> after a day of violence, street protests, egypt president hosni mubarak sacks his government and says he will introduce reform. >> i have best equipment to tender its resignation today. as of tomorrow, i shall give the new government clear and particular tasks to deal decisively with the priorities of the current situation. >> thousands of protesters continued to demonstrate to niceties across egypt, defying a nighttime curfew. barack obama calls for restraint and urges president mubarak to stand by the former
deliver on that promise. >> hello and a warm welcome to "bbc news." the egyptian president hosni mubarak has gone on television to promise democratic reforms following days of protests on the streets of cairo and other cities. in a televised address, he said he asked his cabinet to resign but gave no hint that he would consider the action that many protesters are demanding, his own resignation. >> what happened today and the past few days create fear in the hearts of the people over the future of egypt and opened the path for more destruction and chaos. i bear my responsibility to protect the security of the people and its citizens. i will not allow that to happen.
i will not allow fear to overcome the people and for this uncertainty to overshadow the future. i asked the government to tender its resignation today. as of tomorrow, i shall give the new government clear and particular tasks to deal precise of -- to deal with the current situation. i say once more i shall not stop or refrain in taking any measures that will guarantee every man and woman their security and safety. i shall defend egypt's security and stability. this is the responsibility and the pledge that i have sworn before god and the nation to protect. >> press the mother speaking earlier. -- president mubarak speaking earlier.
>> you have done enough to the people. >> the problem is is a corrupt president will have a corrupt government. if he brings a new government, it will also be corrupt, since the system is corrupt. >> barack obama spoke to president mubarak by telephone after the televised address. mr. obama said he asked the egyptian president to take concrete steps to advance the rights of his people. >> ultimately, the future of egypt will be determined by the egyptian people. i believe the egyptian people want the same things that we all want, a better life for ourselves and our children, and a government that is fair and just and responsive. put simply, the egyptian people want a future that befits a great an ancient civilization. the united states always will be
a partner in pursuit of the future. we are committed with working with the egyptian government and the egyptian people to achieve it. around the world, governments have an obligation to respond to their citizens. it is true here in the united states. it is true in asia. it is true in europe. it is true in africa. it is certainly true in the arab world, where new generations of citizens have the right to be heard. when i was in cairo shortly after i was elected, i said that all governments must maintain power through consent, not coercion. it is the single standard by which the people of egypt will achieve the future they deserve. surely, there will be difficult days to come. the united states will continue to stand up for the rights of the egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just,
more free, and more vocal. thank you very much. >> the bbc's correspondent is in washington and gave me more details about the white house's v. >> the egyptian government gets about $1.5 billion every year from the u.s. government in need, predominantly military aid. that was alluded to. we heard there would be a review of that in a press briefing this afternoon. quite interesting how things develop from then on and how quickly things change. we later have the statement from hosni mubarak on egyptian television. shortly after that address by president obama, addressing egypt and changing the language from the white house today, earlier in the week, i think the white house was calling for reform. today, i think there were more demanding.
>> the u.s. has a close relationship with egypt, the crucial arab ally in the region. >> i think the key question here is what next. for the obama administration, they have had a key ally in the middle east in the egyptian government over the past 30 years and hosni mubarak has been in charge. it has been a fairly stable regime, if a regime that had a very questionable record on human rights. that dilemma the obama administration is having to play with. on one hand, they want to push forward these reforms. on the other, they are not wanting a vacuum to be created if the regime were to go. i think we still saw that in the language in president obama's statement tonight, setting down certain parameters for hosni mubarak, saying he wanted better respect of human rights, to allow protesters on the streets,
switching the internet back on, allowing people to use facebook and put her, but i still think he will work with hosni mubarak 's regime. there were keywords in that statement tonight. >> he was speaking to me from washington. president mubarak is facing his biggest ever challenge. protesters have been slashing that i concur to. there have been deaths with hundreds injured. it is the arab world's most populous nation. we are in cairo and look back on the day's events. >> by the evening, tahrir square was in the hands of demonstrators. they were using the word "revolution." on the far side of the crowd, they were still taking on the retreating police. >> we are going to do everything. we are going to make it.
we are going to make it. >> the government has declared a curfew, but it has been ignored by tens of thousands of people. for 30 years, pressed a mubarak has ruled. >> we're sending a message to the whole world. we are tired. we're tired. >> the headquarters of the ruling party are on fire. this started as a protest led by the middle-class, including many young students. tonight, cairo's pour on the street. this is a mosque just before midday. everyone knew that when the prayer finished, it would begin. [shouting] for both sides, the day was always going to be a big test, perhaps a turning point. that is why they fought so hard.
at the moment, the police do not have this demonstration under control. with the wounded inside the mosque, the would-be president. >> to practice what you preach is to defend the rights of egyptians, to give them dignity, social justice. >> but on the streets, his nobel peace prize may not help him win the leadership he wants. for while in the afternoon, it looked as though police were gaining the upper hand. [shouting] this is the main bridge down to tahrir square. it is blocked by hundreds of riot police with riot shields. more over there.
it is in a massive security operation -- it is a massive security operation. they have taken control of this part of the city. it is impossible to get it on film. the trouble spread across cairo. the pressure of numbers was constant. in front of the crowd, the police began to fall back. [shouting] they were inspired. two weeks ago, the anger through over a long standing president. the people are losing their fear of the police state. it may inspire others across the middle east. >> we're trying. we're trying hard to achieve something today to show that we're human beings. you need to value us as human beings. >> do you think it is going to
work? >> i hope so. i have faith in my country. >> the police hit back with shotguns, firing the metal pellets. [shouting] by late afternoon, the police were retreating on all sides. slowly, violently, the crowd forced its way across the bridge. >> you are watching "bbc news." still ahead, we will have more on the ongoing crisis in egypt and how social media has helped the protesters get their message out. the middle east envoy and tony blair has been giving his reaction to the protests in egypt.
he will be at the ski resort of davos for the world economic forum. >> what is important for all of these countries, especially when, in any event, egypt, there is a change in times to come, there will be changes in other countries, what is important as it happens in waiver the country ends up in a better place. >> quickly, can you think of a model where something like this has happened and it has been managed without ultimately bloodshed and the rather difficult removal of those in power from where they have been for so many years? >> i think any of our countries under went to the process of change over a period of time. you can look at -- you can look at examples where this has happened. it must happen in a way that recognizes there are different elements in the situation. i deal with things day in and day out. i'm focused on the israeli-
palestine question. what is going on in the middle east as a whole, there is a process of transition. where is a transition into? i hope and believe that it will transit to a better place for these countries. >> many people in egypt have been sending their personal accounts of what is happening to the bbc news website. let me give you a flavor of the stuff from cairo. "i am barricaded in my home afraid to move out. the tear-gas used by the police has reached my home. my family and buyer choking back fumes." "the people in egypt around siege. we feel as if we are in a dark locked room without connection to the outside world." this is "bbc news." arkansas headlines so far,
president mubarak of egypt has sacked his government and promises democratic and economic reforms. there are unprecedented protests sweeping the country. the demonstrations have continued into the night with many people defying a national curfew. earlier, i spoke to our correspondent in cairo, who has been covering the latest demonstration. >> on the streets of cairo before mubarak made his speech. i saw firsthand confrontations. it has quieted down somewhat. i then also have colleagues in the streets in other areas of the city where apparently there is quite a lot of unrest. there is loading. the thing as it is not clear whether these are protesters or criminals taking advantage of the situation, or if they are
plain clothes police. they have been out here the whole time beating people with a wooden planks. >> how have the egyptians reacted to president mubarak's televised speech a couple of hours ago? >> well, what the protesters and people have been asking for is for mubarak to step down. for him to just sack the government, i really don't think that will be enough. people on the streets have been very passionate and are continuing all through the night. we are expecting more to come out in the morning. i just don't think it is going to be enough. it is not what people are asking for. >> what are those protesters asking for? are they asking for president mubarak to stand down now or simply not stand for reelection? >> i think they want the regime to come down now. what they want is they want freedom, they want more democracy, they want better
living standards, a large percentage of the population -- over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. people struggle to make a daily wage. there's corruption. there is a lot of police brutality, which has been one of the catalyst for the human rights groups. it has said that torture is systematic across the country. >> our correspondent in cairo. this has not been confined to the capital. in mandatory -- and tyrian -- in mediterranean ports, there has been violence. some of the worst violence was in suez. >> from a rooftop, we watched as hundreds of men, left friday prayers and the white mosque. defying the government, they went straight to the street, surging forward and surrounding the riot police.
"down with mubarak," they shouted. "down with the regime." at first, the police did not stop them. as the crowds swelled, the mood changed. it is not clear what set this off. the crowds' response was immediate and violent. the mob tries to overturn one of the police riot vans. it is later set aflame. >> the egyptian government has done everything it can to stop the protests today. the internet has been cut off across the country and suez's phone network has been cut. initially, the protest was peaceful. then the police responded with tear gas. now it is a full-blown confrontation. suez is now in a chaos. there is gunfire.
they're not deterred for long. atop a lamppost, two men tried to tear down a post repressed embark. they change their minds and set it on fire in step -- instead -- tried to tear down a poster of president mubarak. they change their minds and set it on fire instead. there's a black pall of smoke. some are taking automatic weapons. curfew has been declared in suez. right now, no one, certainly not the police, will be in control of this city. bbc news. >> let's get more now on the background to the protests in egypt. our diplomatic correspondent, james robbins. >> protestors in egypt and
across the arab world are mainly young. they have very powerful, peaceful weapons in their hands, cameras in mobile phones, the images flashing around the internet, bringing others onto the street. it means the vast egyptian security operators are desperate to control information is almost powerless to prevent the spread of potent images like this, president mubarak being torn down. >> people are taking pictures straight from the field. this is taking place with no censorship across egypt. traditionally, they cannot compete with that. >> which explains why, after a remarkable pictures of defiance like this one got out, the egyptian regime has not simply shut down modern communication. that includes mobile networks,
all to try to protect the old order. look of the start of the to's internet usage over 24-hour period. megabytes per second climbing. the shutdown sent systems crashing almost zero. it was not enough to stop today's protest. what do the crowds on the street want? they accuse the government of neglecting rampant policy, unemployment, and rapidly rising food prices. protesters blame all that on corruption on vast apparatus of democracy and state control and political opposition. above all, the crowds want freedom, democracy, and an end to rule by one man, president hosni mubarak. this is a highly personalized protest directed at him, which alarmed the entire ruling elite, who depend on the president for their power and wealth. now very pointedly, president
obama has been using youtube to send him this message. >> of violence -- violence is not the answer in solving these problems in egypt. the government has to be careful about not resulting to buy -- not resorting to violence. people on the street have to be careful not to resort to violence. it is very important that people have mechanisms in order to express their grievances. >> for now, the only way ordinary egyptians think they can express their grievances as on the street, with all the risks that carries. james robbins, bbc news. >> the arabic reporter for bbc told us how significant egypt is in the arab world. >> it is the most populous country, with a population up to 80 million people. egypt has one of the most powerful armies in the middle east.
egypt is the closest ally after israel in the middle east to the united states. today we had mr. obama, barack obama, speaking about the protests. he said mr. mubarak must deliver on his promises. so, i mean, the protesters in egypt through our bbc arabic website and even through twitter, although the internet is blocked, they have maneuvered using old-fashioned technique. they're receiving the statement of obama with this appointment, with bitter irony, and actually they expect little or nothing from obama. >> the unrest in egypt has put washington in an awkward
diplomatic position. mubarak is a key middle eastern ally. andrew north reports. >> calls for the egyptian leader to go have come to president obama's doorstep, keeping up the pressure on the u.s. administration to back the protests in cairo. >> i want obama to pick up the phone, call hosni mubarak, leave now. leave egypt to the egyptian people. >> we are here. you have to go. game over. >> the white house has said it is reviewing u.s. aid to egypt. it is still struggling to find the best response. it is not with these demonstrators want. it is unlikely americans will abandon their longtime allies so quickly. this is a very difficult calculation for the
administration to respond with the protesters on the ground. >> president obama was emphasizing their ties after speaking with the egyptian leader. >> this moment of volatility has to be turned into a moment of promise. the united states has a close partnership with egypt and we cooperated on many issues, including working together to advance a more peaceful region. but, we have also been clear that there must be reformed. political, social, and economic reforms that lead to aspirations of the egyptian people. i am honored to to be in the timeless city of cairo. >> two years ago, it all seemed so much easier to speak up for greater democracy in egypt. in that now-famous speech in cairo -- >> i have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things, the ability to speak your mind and have a say
in how your government, the freedom to live as you choose. >> much less certainty now was president obama held another session on egypt with his national security team. with the outcome far from clear, foreign policy experts warn against too hasty a reaction. >> the view -- the u.s. does not know what is going to happen in egypt. >> these are situations where one has to be very careful about how quickly you leap on the tiger before you know where the tiger is going and you know something about the tiger's disposition. >> in new york, another show of solidarity with the egyptian protests. it has been 30 years of u.s. support of the egyptian government as well. if pressed embargo so new gesture does not work at the present spreads, u.s. policy will have to some -- have to change. and for north, bbc news -- andrew north, bbc news.
>> let's take a look at some of the most memorable images. >> hello and welcome. >> see the news unfold, get the top stories from around the globe and click-to-play video reports. go to bbc.com/news to experience the in-depth, expert reporting of "bbc world news" online. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its global expertise to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major