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News  


 

EU calls for end to Egypt violence

BRUSSELS (AFP) - European Union head Herman Van Rompuy called yesterday for an end to violence and bloodshed in Egypt, where demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak have left more than 30 dead since Tuesday.
“I am deeply troubled by the spiral of violence leading to a situation which makes dialogue even more difficult,” the EU president said in a statement.
“The respect for fundamental human rights, such as the freedom of expression, the right to communicate, and the right of free assembly, as well as social inclusion are constituent elements of democracy which the Egyptian people, and in particular the young, are striving for.
“History has shown that dialogue can also lead to change if a conducive environment is built, without the use of force or a military crackdown.
“I therefore call for the cessation of violence to stop bloodshed, the release of all those arrested or under house arrest for political reasons, including political figures, and to set the necessary reform process in motion.
“I sincerely hope that the promises of openness by President Mubarak will translate into concrete action.”
Egypt’s capital resembles a battlefield, with burned-out cars, streets littered with rubble and clouds of thick dark smoke billowing above the seat of government as protesters demand that President Hosni Mubarak step down.
“Allahu Akbar! (God is greatest)” and “The people want the president out” were some of the slogans chanted by thousands of demonstrators gathered yesterday on Tahrir square in downtown Cairo.
“Mubarak, go!” they cried.
The anti-regime demonstrators defied an early morning military curfew and resumed demands for Mubarak to step down, rejecting his promise to sack the government and carry out reforms as too little, too late.
“The president must go. It is the only thing we want. Mubarak must simply step down. He’s been there for 30 years. It’s enough!” said Hassan, a 30-year-old demonstrator.
“Egypt should be an industrial and agricultural power but we are lagging behind,” he added. “It’s not normal.”
“We will stay on the streets as long as he doesn’t leave power,” shouted Ali Barra, a young medical student. “It could take one year or two years but we will stay.”

(Earlier report in Nation 2)