Breaking: Mubarak Resigns As Head Of Ruling Party
by Zoe Pollock
Egypt's State TV is reporting that Hosni Mubarak resigns as head of ruling party.
The leadership of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party resigned on Saturday, including Gamal Mubarak, the son of embattled President Hosni Mubarak, state television said.
Twitter user Justimage puts it in context:
Take it easy all, he's still President. When he finally leaves that role the entire world will shake from cheers at/of Tahrir. #Egypt #jan25
UPDATE: AJE gets the expert opinions:
"It is quite significant, it means the pressures on the regime are gaining some response ... but not enough," Omar Ashour, a political analyst, told Al Jazeera.
However, Ashour said that the move is unlikely to satisfy protesters, who have demanded that Mubarak leave office as president. He said the resignations are a "cosmetic" move, and that they were "like trying to treat a cancer with a pair of aspirin".
UPDATE II: The Lede is reporting some confusion as to whether Mubarak has really stepped down from the NDP:
The Associated Press is quoting state television saying that he has resigned, and Reuters has sent out a news alert. But an Al Jazeera reporter, Alan Fisher, reports on Twitter that the station has been unable to get official confirmation (even though the anchor has been announcing the resignation for the last hour), and the Al Jazeera scroll now only speaks of Gamal Mubarak's resignation, not his father's. It seems that the source of the information may not be state television at all, but Al Arabiya, a private pan-Arab television station.
4:50pm General Hassan El-Rawani, the head of the army's central command, speaks to the masses in Tahrir Square urging them to leave the square, they chant back at him "We are not leaving, He [Mubarak] is leaving".
1:34pm The latest from our web producer in Tahrir Square: "Two tanks now at museum barricade with barrels facing inward. No chance they'll fire, but it's the intimidation factor. No Mubarak people."
12:27pm Our correspondent in Alexandria says the mood there is reminiscent of "some kind of hangover" today with quiet streets a day after hundreds of thousands took to the streets, calling on President Mubarak to step down.
Some people are scratching their heads, wondering what more they need to do to make it clear to the president that they don't want him.
Ahram reports on military efforts to break up protests:
Since early this morning (Saturday) the army moved to remove the extensive barricade the protesters had erected on the northern side of the square since last Wednesday, in order to repel the attacks of "pro-Mubarak" hooligans,
No sooner had protesters detected the army's intentions than, with shouts and whistles, hundreds of their numbers, who had been spread around the enormous square, rushed to the northern edge, surrounding an army bulldozer that had started trying to remove the barricade.
1625 GMT: It has now been confirmed that Coptic Christians will hold Sunday Mass in Tahrir Square on during the protests.
1608 GMT: A CNN journalist says that German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger has withdrawn his claim of an assassination attempt upon Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman.
Ischinger was apparently the unnamed source cited by several media organization who published the story yesterday.
1446 GMT: 500 protesters just arrived from Suez to join the thousands in Tahrir Square. Meanwhile, Sunday's protest will be called "Day of the Martyred" in rememberance of those protesters killed during the protests so far.
0730 GMT: Ahmed Mohammad Mahmoud, a reporter for Al-Taawun, died on Friday of gunshot wounds suffered in clashes on 28 January. His is the first confirmed death of a journalist in the current crisis.
Sky TV reports on an explosion on a gas pipeline in north Sinai, which is now being tied to a leak, not "sabotage" as the regional governor in the Sinai, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, charged:
The head of the Egyptian company for natural gas, Magdy Toufik, countered that earlier claim and said in a statement that the fire broke out as a result of a "small amount of gas leaking". Egyptian state TV had also blamed "terrorists" for the explosion, which saw flames towering into the sky near the Gaza Strip.
The proposal being promoted by a group of Egyptians calling itself the "The Council of Wise Men" involves Suleiman assuming presidential powers for an interim period pending elections.
But some opposition figures argue that would mean the next presidential election would be held under the same unfair conditions as in previous years. They want to first form a new parliament to change the constitution to pave the way for a presidential vote that is democratic.
Great news this morning, all our Egyptian colleagues detained on February 3 have been released. Late last night the military released Dan Williams of Human Rights Watch, two researchers from Amnesty International and two journalists, one French, the other Portuguese. This morning they freed the Egyptian lawyers and activists who were also picked up in the raid on the Hisham Mubarak Law Center.
7:49am There are differing reports of how many have died in the last 11 days of protests and clashes. The Egyptian health minister says 11 people have died, while the United Nations says 300 people may have been killed across the country since protests began. New agencies have counted more than 150 dead in morgues in Alexandria, Suez and Cairo.