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Egyptian opposition demands Mubarak step down, parliament removed, fair elections held

RIA Novosti

20:43 06/02/2011

CAIRO, February 6 (RIA Novosti, David Burghardt) - Egypt's current parliament must be removed, a new one formed in fair elections, and a new government formed from all of the participants of the revolution, Muhammad Ayed, a leader for the opposition Youth Group January 25, told RIA Novosti.

"The government will be formed from all the participants of the revolution from different movements. The parliament of Egypt must be removed, for the new parliament there must be fair elections and legal inquiries, the constitution needs to be completely changed," Ayed told RIA Novosti during protests on Cairo's central Tahrir Square, adding: "This is the people's choice."

Protests throughout Egypt demanding President Hosni Mubarak's resignation have continued for almost two weeks, putting the country into a financial and social vacuum. Mubarak has so far refused to step down and the majority of the opposition has refused to enter into dialogue with the current president.

"We demand that Mubarak leave the country completely and that Mubarak is taken to the people's court because over the last 30 years...he and his thieves have stolen from the people; he has acted violently against the people that's why we demand that there is an international court against this president so that he goes through all of the legal stages and so that he is not in this country," he said.

Ola Shakhbah, one of the organizers of the January 25 Youth Group movement and also a human rights education trainer, said there is an organizational committee that brings the different groups together and that they have no plans of holding dialogue with the current leader.

"We refuse totally to negotiate with Mubarak," she said, adding: "The least of our demands is when Mubarak [steps] down, once Mubarak [steps] down, we will begin talking."

Saturday's protests saw close to 10,000 Egyptians on Tahrir Square and the protests were held relatively civilized. Organizers have said the protests on Sunday could see up to one million people.

"During the transitional period in order to manage the country instead of the president, there should be two judges and one military person, three people so that they head the government," Ayed said.

When asked if the movement had a prominent leader known to the world who could replace Mubarak, Shakhbah said that they did not care if a new leader is known in the world and that is not what they are seeking.

"We actually prefer that they don't pick someone like that, we want a democrat who will just run the country until fair elections by the people are held that are not fixed," the opposition spokeswoman said.

Mubarak has repeatedly vowed to hold presidential elections in September and said he would not be a candidate.

"The people will not go for that, we will not wait, we want him to leave now," Shakhbah said adding that Egyptians do not believe in Mubarak's promises "because he's been lying to the people for over 30 years."

The opposition hopes to have an interim government or a governing committee who would assume power for six months before holding nationwide elections that are deemed fair and just.

In regard to the difficult financial situation that Egypt has fallen into because of the lack of tourism and other revenues, the opposition said that this is not of immediate concern because the present regime has been stealing from the people for over 30 years, so they would be able to get back on their feet once "the thieves" are removed.

When asked to give a name to Egypt's revolution, like the ones in Ukraine called the Orange Revolution and the recent Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia, Shakhbah said proudly that it has already been called the "Youth Revolution" because it started with the youth meeting in secret places and risking their lives. Since then people from all social layers from doctors to farmers, as well as the poor, rich and handicapped have joined the movement. Shakhbah has been arrested by authorities several times.

"Our youth movement is independent and does not belong to any political movement. There are three main political ideologies, left and right and the majority I would say are independent. Within our movement there is true democracy. The main leader [of the movement] is independent and does not belong to any party," Ayed said.

The anti-government movement began with 25,000 protestors and has grown into the millions throughout the country since January 25.



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