Egyptian president calls for own government to resign - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Egyptian president calls for own government to resign

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Crowds of Egyptians take to the streets to protest the government. (Source: CNN) Crowds of Egyptians take to the streets to protest the government. (Source: CNN)
Tear gas canisters are fired at the crowds protesting in Egypt. (Source: CNN) Tear gas canisters are fired at the crowds protesting in Egypt. (Source: CNN)
(Source: CNN) (Source: CNN)
A column of military armored personnel carriers makes its way along a Cairo street Friday. (Source: CNN) A column of military armored personnel carriers makes its way along a Cairo street Friday. (Source: CNN)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak asks his government to resign while he remains in power. (Source: CNN) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak asks his government to resign while he remains in power. (Source: CNN)
Washington -

WASHINGTON (RNN) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak spoke for the first time Friday after a day of heavy rioting in his country, calling for his own government to resign while he remains in power.

Speaking on Egyptian national TV, Mubarak said he was very sorry for the injuries sustained by protestors and said he wanted freedom and security for his people.

"I am on the side of security of Egypt, and I would not let anything dangerous happen that would threaten peace and the law and the future of the country," Mubarak said.

It was unclear if Mubarak's address was live or pre-recorded. At the end of his speech, Mubarak said the government should resign.

"I will tell the government tomorrow very specific goals to work with the current situation," he said through an interpreter.

Mubarak's comments came hours after thousands of Egyptian protestors gathered in the cities of Suez, Alexandria and Cairo, demanding an end to Mubarak's 30-year regime. The military was called out to enforce a curfew that was largely ignored by the people.

More than 800 people have been injured in the protests that began Thursday. Momentum built in the early morning hours Friday, with the ruling party's headquarters eventually torched by protestors.

In a news conference Friday evening, President Barack Obama urged calm in Egypt and the Middle East. Obama said he had spoken to Mubarak, and urged him to exercise restraint and to address the complaints of his people.

Obama said the first concern of his administration is preventing injury and loss of life. He called on Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against protestors, adding that their human rights should be respected.

"The United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and pursue a future through their government that is more just and more free," Obama said.

Media coverage Friday showed military vehicles being surrounded and rocked by protestors, tear gas being fired at the crowds and a stream of people following a convoy of armored vehicles pulling away from the capital.

At one point, thousands of people streamed across a bridge over the Nile River while they were tear-gassed by Egyptian forces.

Al Jazeera Network reported that protestors formed a human chain around the national museum to prevent looting. Egypt is now in a communication blackout, with the internet, mobile phones and satellite services having been cut off.

In his remarks Friday, Mubarak said he acknowledged that the economy and lack of jobs is an aggravating factor in the protest.

"I am with bettering the economy," he said.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs also emphasized the importance of a peaceful resolution to the uprising.

"This is not about picking a person or picking a people of a country," Gibbs said during a press briefing. "We are deeply concerned about images and events we have seen in Egypt today. The security personnel in Egypt should refrain from violence, and protestors should refrain from violence."

Friday morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appealed to the Egyptian government to extend human rights to all Egyptians.

"We support the universal human rights of Egyptian people," she said, including the right to free speech and freedom of assembly. "We continue to monitor the situation closely," Clinton said.

[Click here to read Clinton's complete comments]

Clinton called for a peaceful dialogue between the government and its people.

"Their great grievances need to be addressed," she said.

The Egyptian uprising follows recent unrest in other Middle Eastern countries such as Tunisia, where several citizens have lit themselves on fire to protest the government.

According to CNN, both Egypt and Tunisia have seen dramatic increases in the cost of living in recent years, as well as accusations of corruption among ruling elite.

"It is absolutely vital for Egypt to embrace reform," Clinton said. The situation is of "deep concern" to the Obama administration, and is being monitored closely.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley tweeted Friday that Egypt must respect the fundamental rights of its people, and called on the Egyptian government to look upon its people as a partner, not a threat.

Twitter has been blocked by Egyptian authorities. Gibbs called on Egyptian authorities to turn the internet and social networking sites back on.


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Copyright 2011 Raycom News Network. CNN contributed to this report.

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