News Update: November 22, 2011

Tahrir protests

Tens of thousands of protesters remain in Tahrir Square as the demonstration enters its fourth day, with the official death toll climbing to 28. Most major political forces are calling for the formation of a “national salvation government” and Field Marshal Tantawi reportedly met with several candidates for the premiership in an emergency meeting. Meanwhile, the Egyptian pound fell to its lowest level since 2005.


Tens of thousands of protesters remain in Tahrir Square as the demonstration enters its fourth day and large-scale demonstrations are taking place nationwide. In Alexandria, around 5,000 people surrounded a security headquarters and police responded by firing live ammunition. Security forces also clashed with at least 4,000 protesters in the port city of Ismailia on the Suez Canal. [Al-Jazeera, English, 11/22/2011] [Al-Shorouk, Arabic, 11/22/2011]

The official death toll from the clashes in Tahrir Square has reached 28, according to the Health Ministry. [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 11/22/2011]


In a meeting on November 22, SCAF Chief of Staff Sami Anan reportedly agreed with invited political forces to conduct elections as scheduled on November 28; immediately form a “national salvation government;” and hold the presidential election no later than June 30, 2012. [Al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 11/22/2011] [Al-Shorouk, Arabic, 11/22/2011]

Field Marshal Tantawi is scheduled to address the nation in a televised speech on November 22. [Al-Jazeera, English, 11/22/2011]


An anonymous military source reported that the SCAF has invited Mohamed ElBardei to take on the role of prime minister following the cabinet’s resignation. ElBaradei is reportedly hesitating on the offer, waiting for assurances of his authority to choose ministers. The source said the SCAF is also considering presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh (a former Brotherhood member) to head the new government. A conflicting report denied that Fotouh and ElBaradei are candidates for the post, but said that NAC coordinator Abel Gelil Mostafa is being considered. Field Marshal Tantawi is expected to meet with several candidates for the premiership in an urgent meeting on November 22. Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s cabinet collectively resigned on November 21 but the SCAF has not yet accepted the resignation. [Al-Jazeera, English, 11/22/2011] [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 11/22/2011]

Most major political forces are calling for the formation of a “national salvation government.” Twenty-five political groups including most members of the Brotherhood-led Democratic Alliance signed a statement November 21 demanding that the SCAF “begin discussions for the formation of a national salvation government.” Presidential candidates Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabahi took the demand a step further, calling on the SCAF to immediately transfer “all” of its powers to a salvation government.  Meanwhile, 38 political groups including the Revolutionary Youth Coalition (RYC)  issued a similarly strong declaration calling for a fully empowered salvation government to oversee the remainder of the transition. [The Daily News Egypt, English, 11/22/2011] [The Daily News Egypt, 11/21/2011] [al-Ahram, Arabic, 11/21/2011]

The April 6 Youth Movement demanded that the SCAF transfer power to a civilian presidential council empowered to form a “national salvation government.” The movement  nominated presidential candidates Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh,  Mohamed ElBaradei, Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, and Zakariya Abdel Aziz. [Al-Shorouk, Arabic, 11/22/2011]

245 Egyptian diplomats signed a statement urging the SCAF to conduct presidential elections and hand over power to civilians by mid-2012 at the latest. Among the signatories were several ambassadors and advisors at the Foreign Ministry, including Ambassor to Russia Alaa al-Hadidy and ministry spokesperson Amr Roshdy. [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 11/22/2011]


The White House urged Egypt to proceed with elections on schedule, despite violent clashes in Tahrir Square.White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. was "deeply concerned" by the violence and called for restraint on all sides. He added, “The United States continues to believe that these tragic events should not stand in the way of elections.” [AFP, English, 11/21/2011] 


The Egyptian pound fell to its lowest level (5.992) against the dollar since January 2005 as protests in Tahrir Square continued to escalate. [Reuters, English, 11/22/2011]

The Egyptian stock exchange has temporarily suspended trading as the index plummeted 5 percent amid the escalating political crisis. [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 11/22/2011]

Photo Credit: Media Ite

Image: Mideast_Egypt-Protest_6.jpg