by Patrick Appel
The speech by President Hosni Mubarak moments ago has had no effect on the protests. Protesters remain in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other cities and still have not be dispersed. Many are continuing their anti-government chants and now directly asking Mubarak to step down.
The main opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood just told Al Jazeera that Mubarak must step down and that it's time for the military to step in and remove him.
The announcement was strategically made in the middle of the night in Egypt to give time for troops to take position.
The military’s interaction with the demonstrators will need to be watched closely. So far, the military has been able to move into the cities and has been welcomed by the protesters without employing the more heavy-handed tactics of the internal security forces. What order they imposed came not from violence but from the perception that they would enable the demonstrators to bring down Mubarak.
If the military is now physically backing the regime, confrontations between demonstrators (whose grievance is ultimately with Mubarak) and the military forces is likely to turn more violent in the hours ahead.
(Photo: Army tanks line up in Tahrir Square on January 29, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt.Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital. Hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell demonstrations. By Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)