by Chris Bodenner
Scott Lucas summarizes a 45-minute interview that just ended:
1636 GMT: The Vice President Omar Suleiman appeared on Al-Musriyya state TV and during an interview said that the demands of the youth of the January 25 movement were legitimate and acceptable and that they have been examined. However, he blamed foreign operatives with their own agendas whose objective was to create instability, intimidation and rift between Egyptians.
He claimed that these operatives wanted to carry out sabotage. He said that these operatives forced the government to deploy Army. He said that these operatives will be arrested and penalized.
He said that constitutional amendments will be made to the constitution to allow more reform in the sections that determine qualification of candidates. He said that they had contacted all parties and two parties, including Wafd Party, had asked for time while others had agreed to join reform talks. He said they had also contacted the Muslim Brotherhood and invited them to reform talks, but they were hesitant to join.
He adds that people who were responsible for the Tahrir Square killings last night will be held accountable for their actions. He claimed that they will find the people with horses and camels and tried to break up protests in Tahrir Square will be identified. He also claimed that pro-Mubarak protesters had been pushed towards Tahrir Square and that they will find out who pushed them there and find out who started the clashes.
The Armed Forces were deployed to safeguard all people, he said, and that the Armed Forces are carrying out a new role which is to implement the curfew, protect civilians against the thugs and finally, burden the responsibility of the police. He claimed that what took place last night in Tahrir Square was because the Army was not instructed to stop protesters from peaceful protests and that there was no anticipation of violence, but they managed to separate the two sides. But he claimed that the pro-Mubarak supporters didn't go to Tahrir Square on their own, but were rather forced there by elements he did not identify.
He asked the youth to stop demonstrating because it will simply continue the state of paralysis that government is in. He claimed that one million tourists had left the country in the past nine days. He said that continuing like this will only ruin the state and not bring reform.
An Al Jazeera analyst is currently saying how Suleiman's words were full of dog whistles encouraging violence against protesters. Watch live coverage here. Screenshot via The Guardian, which adds, "[Suleiman's] approach was predicted in this morning's Guardian by the novelist Ahdaf Soueif, who wrote:"
Their next trick will be to say that the young people in Tahrir are "foreign" elements, that they have connections to "terrorism", that they've visited Afghanistan, that they want to destabilise Egypt. But by now the whole world knows that this regime lies as naturally as it breathes.
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