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Egypt cabinet resigning after three days of violent clashes

Published time: November 21, 2011 19:00
Edited time: November 22, 2011 16:54

An Egyptian protester prepares to hurl a tear gas canister back at security forces as others run for cover on the third day of clashes at Tahrir Square in Cairo on November 21, 2011. (AFP Photo/Mohammed Hossam)

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Egypt’s government has resigned amid huge protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Since Friday up to 33 have died in clashes between protesters and security forces, with riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets against stone-throwing demonstrators.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's government handed in its resignation to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. RT’s Paula Slier reports that the military is reviewing the offer to quit and does not want to accept it until there is a new formally-appointed prime minister.

There also have been reports that former head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, might be considered as a candidate for that position.

According to RT’s correspondent Paula Slier, there is considerable chaos and confusion in the Egyptian capital. Protestors believe is it not enough for the government to simply step aside, they want the military to resign too.

Since Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's government came to power in March, it has been frequently criticized as inefficient and subordinate to the military.

Earlier on Sunday, Egypt's Culture Minister Emad Abu stepped down in protest at the government crackdown.

Clashes between rioters and military forces in Egypt pose a question about the legitimacy of the elections set to start on November 28.

Jeremy Corbyn, a British Labour MP and a member of the Stop the War coalition, told RT that the army’s behavior is designed to create an unacceptable atmosphere for the elections.

“If the elections are postponed because of the behavior of the military then presumably the military council will see itself being longer in power, if not permanently in power,” he said.

Corbyn says that this will provoke even more demonstrations and uprisings across the whole country.

As RT’s Paula Slier reports, the people in Tahrir Square that she spoke to, were saying they will not leave until they get what they want.

“I think what they want is the opportunity to decide their own future and their own government. What they have had is a military council running the country ever since Mubarak stepped down, essentially full of Mubarak appointees,” Corbyn says.


Dr Adil Shamoo, foreign policy expert from the US, has welcomed the Cabinet’s decision to resign as “a very good step.”

It will put the military on notice that they can no longer kill people and arrest people and wound people and torture some of them, and feel free to have extremely limited democracy as long as they stay in power and do whatever they want in terms of budget and secret trials,” Shamoo told RT.