tv BBC World News PBS February 11, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PST
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what can we do for you? >> and now bbc world news. >> hosni mubarak says he will stay on as egypt's president, but hands over his highest power to his secretary. >> i have expressed plans to get out of this crisis and also to implement and put forward a framework agreed for a peaceful transfer of power. [chanting] >> the anti-mubarak protesters say that is not enough. the white house says that it is not meaningful or sufficient.
welcome to bbc news. president hosni mubarak has defied expectations by insisting he will not step down now despite mass demonstrators against his rule. tens of thousands of protesters gathered in tahrir square to hear his news after a hint that he was going to step down. he said he is determined to stay on. the protesters soon turned to furyk. the president said he will turn his visit to fury. the president said he will turn over all -- the protesters soon turned to fury. the president said he will turn over his authority to suleman. >> i speak to you from the
heart, he said, as a father to his children. he said, " all those who spilled the blood of protesters will be punished." he promised some powers will be transferred to the vice president and reiterated that he will stay on until elections in september. from the morning, it was clear that the protest was spreading way beyond the square. doctors at a local staff came out of their hospitals. strikes across the country, in the capital and far from cairo, were a decisive factor. these were civil servants who walked out of the communications ministry. journalists from the official newspaper, for many years the regime's reliable mouthpiece, said the revolution is freedom from fear.
they say the parliament came from a regular action. >> we cannot go on this way. i mean, we have to change the editorial policy. otherwise, we will fail as a newspaper. otherwise, the masses come to burn this newspaper if we continue the same way. >> state television showed president mubarak conferring with the vice president, omar suleiman. and there were glimpses of jockeying of the top. the high command issued committee no. 1. it said it would preserve the nation and the aspirations of the people. then, as word spread that the president could be going, thousands of egyptians crossed the bridge over the and i'll to
-- over the nile to tahrir square. the regime was hoping that the protesters would exhaust themselves. the president's opponents have the numbers and the energy. this week, the demonstrations have been the biggest yet appeared in the square, as they waited for the president's announcement, the sense of expectation group. >> it is the day of glory, the day of a victory, the day of freedom. finally, it is a big, big day. egyptians are born again. [chanting] >> most people in the square thought that the president was going and started their party. one rumor said that he was already on a flight out of the country. but some close to their mind to wishful thinking. >> i hope it is a big day. i am not leaving.
tomorrow will be a hot today. >> the question is if transferring powers to the vice- president would be enough for the protesters and the army, and whether the crowds in this city and across egypt would allow mr. nevers to stay on as president in name only. -- mr. mubarak to stay on as president in name only. >> protestors have continued to voice their anger throughout the night. earlier, i spoke with one protester who was outside the state television center in cairo. he tells us why he feels even bigger protests are on the way. >> after the speech delivered by president mubarak. people were very upset. people believe there is a big gap between the speeches and the people's real demand. the real demand is for mubarak to step down immediately.
people also believe that the current regime -- but what happened earlier, last week, in cairo. all the people in tahrir square want to expand the demonstration and they went in front of tv and radio headquarters. the real reason for this protest is that people believe -- people disbelieve the information by this government. they black out people and giving false information. i think that is what people came here. >> what is in store for the people tomorrow, the protesters? >> i think it will be similar to what happened earlier, on the
eighth of january, when they came out of different neighborhoods and marching to squares and demonstrations in different cities. especially after, demonstrations like workers and laborers in factories, actors, lawyers, doctors, a wide range of people joined the demonstration. it will be a very strong day and a good reaction by people. >> thank you very much for joining me. you have written on middle east affairs and u.s. policy. what do you make now of washington's position considering its rather disappointing comments and move verot's the finance? >> -- and move iraq's -- and
mubarak's defiance? >> i think washington wants to allow the egyptian people to continue to take the lead on this and to be supportive of them. they also continue the stress of preventing violence on the ground. >> washington is supporting the people of egypt. for the moment, mubarak is standing firm. is there a lot of support for mubarak? >> i think we saw today that it is pretty open. the white house statement released this evening was quite critical, i expressed blunt disappointment, and made it clear that the government was not taking a transition in a way that was meaningful and beginning immediately as was required. i think washington, this
evening, has already been pretty open about its disappointment with the egyptian government. >> what is washington's -- what does washington's attitude at the moment convey to the rest of the region? >> of which, it should convey a message to the people across the region. of course, people push for democracy and reform and civil rights, and washington will support them. washington will not be in front of the people. it will not be pressuring the regime's too hard out front. but once the people kind of initiate change and bring about change, then washington will be out there to support them and they want to have a good relationship with the country as it becomes more democratic. >> let's get -- it is good to get your insight on this. thank you very much. however much pressure washington can exert, there are many other
factors. the most important is the attitude of the egyptian army. we have a london-based journalist and commentator. what is the position of the army? what we know of how it spreads itself between mubarak and the protesters? >> the army has always been ambivalent and disingenuous at the same time. it has pledged to protect the demonstrators, but, at the same time, it did not do anything to interfere when clashes, for example, happened between pro- mubarak and anti-mubarak demonstrators. it has not been very clear. it has an opportunity now to clarify that role. over the past couple of hours, we see protestors making their way to the presidential palace, protesting their. there will be a significant demonstration there.
what role will the army play? that is the danger. not only was the speech an insult to the dignity of the egyptian people, but he has very strong military credentials and . that might trigger further violence from the demonstrators as we have not seen so far. the fact that they're heading toward the presidential palace may be a sign of chaos in the coming days. >> the army's role, obviously, the move barrett party -- the lebaron party has strength. but what about the opposition? -- the mubarak party has strength. but what about the opposition?
>> there will have to do with the interim period until the elections in september. the army as a whole has been a spokesperson to try and and for just some constitutional mavens. >> thank you for speaking with us. -- constitutional maintenance. >> thank you for speaking with us. we will talk with the egyptians in the united states. what do they think about the events back home? the reaction to president mubarak's speech was seen on the streets of cairo. social media has played a crucial role on the ongoing unrest. people have been sending the messages to the bbc.
>> in some ways, this has been the facebook revolution. social media did not bring the opposition about, but it did speed up the process. e-mails flooded into the bbc, many expressing anger. from cairo, "there are no words good enough to describe this situation. i am in shock. we were all rooting for the sun to shine, but now i see more people getting killed." sarah says, " mubarak is stubborn. our will to see great changes greater." "i am in front of the national tv building protesting. it seems that he does not understand the language we speak. we've means leave. -- leave means leave." 1 used twitter to give his response to the president's
speech. he says that egypt will explode. it is a sentiment echoed by others online. "the army should never accept this. he has lost." one thought that the speech would only backfire. bravo, gather up 3 million in tahrir and make them angry. kill them with peace. mobile phones, facebook, and twitter mean it will not go on scene. >> these are the headlines this hour. not yet meaningful or sufficient, the white house response to president mubarak's
announcement he will not step down. protesters say he should go now. president obama said that we now all live in a connected world. what happens in cairo and affects all of us. >> president mubarak retains his title, but says he is turning over his powers to his vice- president. moments later, the vice president appeared on egyptian state television. >> i would like to stress that i am committed to do whatever i can to achieve a peaceful transfer of power. this was unexpected in washington. in a statement, president obama said it was not clear whether
the changes were immediate, meaningful or sufficient. but clarification soon came from the egyptian investor to washington who told one interviewer that the vice president was now in control. speaking on abc news, the israel defense minister said that there would be not -- there would not be a heard transfer of power. >> usually, and irruption of idealist sentiment -- on the eruptian eruption of idealist sentiment. >> elsewhere, the french president nicolas sarkozy's said that he hopes that egypt will move towards democracy and another form of dictatorship. in australia, there was similar sentiment. >> we do believe that change has to come.
we understand that the status quo is not an untenable position. we do want to see peace in the transition pierre >> of of all, they are surprised that hahns mimmo verot has -- that hosni mubarak has remained in office. >> israeli politicians are worried that the democratically reelected egyptian president would more hostile than the recent president has been pared >> no one is watching it more -- has been. >> the policy toward the middle east, toward egypt, has been bound up for more than 30 years now with a peace treaty and israel has grown used to seeing
hosni mubarak as a living representative of that treaty. everyone knows that the peace treaty is unpopular to the egyptians and those under democratic pressures may want to amend it or repudiate it. that is why israel has said very little in public. it once managed change, course, but it did have a stake in the way things work. -- the way things were. there is very little that israel can do to influence or create the outcome that it wants. it cannot comment on individual contenders for the future of the egyptian presidency endorsements from jerusalem -- presidency.
endorsements from jerusalem are quiet. while we were waiting for mubarak's appearance on television, they interviewed another person. it turned out that he had been speaking with him today and formed the impression that mr. mubarak was decisive, analytical, and in no mood to quit. there is so little public comment on jerusalem -- from jerusalem. >> even seen egypt are being
watched very closely. many arab countries as well. what do you make of the comments? >> i think israel does not have any legitimate reason to worry about the future. just like israel, the egyptians are entitled to have a democratic regime, entitled to basic fundamentals that we take for granted in 70 countries around the world. -- in so many countries around the world. it is not reason enough to stop a dictator from stepping down. >> you can feel the ripple effect of the protesters we saw in tunisia. in algeria, we had demonstrations on saturday. bahrain is being processed.
>> the tanikia model certainly inspired -- the tunisian model certainly inspired not only egypt, but the rest of the region. as you mentioned, in ontario, on saturday, many demonstrations are expected in algeria, on saturday, many demonstrations are expected. despot's across the region -- the prime minister has been sacked and people are clearly demanding social-economic changes. these are all suggestions we have seen put across the region by dictators that are not sufficient.
it is hard to tell how the egyptian situation will impact specifically on all these countries. they have their own specificities. mubarak is loathed in egypt but, for example, in jordan, the jordanians do not have a -- do not have any hatred for their ruler. they just want to see real changes on the ground. they want a better life. but they do not necessarily want to get rid of their king. >> thank you very much. the egyptian communities around the world are watching developments in cairo with huge interest. nowhere more so than in nestorius, an area of new york known -- no more than in past dorastoria, an area of new york
known as little egypt. >> in the cafes of little egypt, of the smokers believe they were about to experience the end of the barracmillubarak's rule. >> this is an important day. everything will change today. tomorrow, there will be a big problem. >> that excitement was in the air. in the printing shops, messages by protestors 5,000 miles away rolled off the presses. the message was clear. in a pastry parlor, i found when daring to dream of a different future of the country he loves. >> our revolution in egypt is like a hard drink -- is like ou.
it is not our dream. it is our grandfather's dream. it has been for years and years and years. >> they took their voice to the family grocery store to watch what they hoped would be a historic speech. as the minutes tick by, their elation faded and celebrations look premature as they realized that little had changed. >> we need him to step down. >> 30 years in the country, 30 years in power, come on. it is supposed to be new people and new freedom. we are looking for freedom now. >> this part of queens was first settled by egyptians fleeing from another ruler. there has been expectations here all day.
now there is disappointment. in the hope of our -- in the hookah bar, there is disappointment. >> people will not stop until they get him down a request frustrated, confused, and emotionally drained, people have no choice but to wait. and to watch events unfolding in tahrir square. >> dawn has broken in cairo for what is expected to be another crucial day in the ongoing unrest. we have seen demonstrators loose in tahrir square. they are gathering at the presidential palace. there is anticipation of larger demonstrations later today.
all of this is in reaction of the president refusing to step down immediately despite the protests. >> hello and welcome. >> see the news unfold. get to the top stories from around the world and click to pay video report. go to bbc.com/news to get expert reporting. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vt., and honolulu. newman's own foundation, the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation, and union bank. ♪ >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a