Egypt: Day 18


by Patrick Appel


The Egyptian presidency is to make an "urgent and important" statement shortly, state television says.


 AFP reports exchanges of gunfire between police and hundreds of protesters in the north Sinai town of El Arish. The report cites witnesses as saying several people were injured... Reuters are also now reporting violence in Sinai town of El Arish after about 1,000 protesters attacked a police station, burning vehicles and throwing petrol bombs.

Sultan Al Qassemi tweets:

Breaking BBC Arabic: Hossam Badrawi, Secretary General of the ruling NDP "I will be announcing my resignation from the NDP within hours"

Michael Hanna responds to the news:

With Badrawi's resignation, a key demand of the protestors is essentially met because the NDP will no longer exist as a serious entity.

The Guardian's morning round-up:

The Egyptian army has issued a statement backing away from ousting Hosni Mubarak and supporting a gradual transition to democracy (see 9.51am). "Communique No 2" said the hated emergency law would be lifted, but did not give a timeframe.

• There is speculation the army could now split into a pro- and anti-Mubarak factions (see this story). There are reports of Egyptian army officers joining the protesters (see 9.24am).

• Mass demonstrations are taking place in Cairo's Tahrir Square and elsewhere in the country, including Alexandria. Protesters have gathered around the presidential palace in the capital (see 12.34pm). Strikes are also continuing.

• Barack Obama has expressed dismay at the failure of Mubarak to stand down (see 9.04am).

Mackey has the text of the statement from Army:

 In view of the ongoing events that will determine the future of the country, and in line with the continuous monitoring of the internal and external developments and the president's decision to delegate his power to the vice president, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces decides to guarantee the implementation of the following steps:


• Ending the state of emergency once the present circumstances end.

• The outcome of the (court) appeals against the parliamentary election and the measures that will follow.

•Implementation of the constitutional amendments and holding a free and fair presidential election in line with the agreed constitutional amendments.


• The armed forces are committed to shepherding the legitimate demands of the people and strives with firmness and accuracy to ensure their implementation within a definitive timetable until the realization of a peaceful transition that produces the democratic society to which people aspire.


• The armed forces stress that there will be no detention of the honorable sons of the nation who rejected corruption and demanded reform.

• It [Egypt's military] stresses the importance of resuming work at government's services, the return of normal life in order to preserve the interests and the achievements of our great people.

(Photo via AJE's live-blog.)