Renewed calls for Mubarak to stand down

Tuesday 08 February 2011 22.20
Egypt - Protestors continue with protests
Egypt - Protestors continue with protests

Egyptian protestors have again gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square amid calls for renewed nationwide street action to mark two weeks of anti-government rallies.

Several thousand are already occupying the square, which has become the focal point of protests calling for the end of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

A massive banner that reads 'The people want the end of the regime' hangs over the square.

However, the 82-year-old president has refused to stand down and instead has promised political reform and reshuffled his cabinet.

Mr Mubarak tried to buy time yesterday by pledging to raise public sector wages by 15%.

He has also ordered an inquiry into the recent violence that has left at least 300 dead in the course of 15 days of protest.

The veteran leader met his new-look cabinet for the first time yesterday as they tried to get the economy moving again.

According to the official MENA news agency, the cabinet approved a plan to increase state sector salaries by 15% from April and to spend another 6.5bn Egyptian pounds (€800m) boosting pensions.

In other government moves to revive economic life, the nightly curfew in three cities, including Cairo, was pushed back to 8pm until 6am and the stock exchange said it would reopen on Sunday.

The Cairo bourse closed down 10% on 27 January, after 70bn Egyptian pounds (€8.5bn) was wiped off shares over two days.

On Sunday, Vice President Omar Suleiman tried to appease demonstrators by inviting several opposition groups to join him on a panel to examine democratic reform.

The government said the parties agreed to set up a committee to examine constitutional amendments by March, while an office would look at complaints over the treatment of political prisoners and loosen media restrictions.