Bold Protests Against Mubarak Administration

Chanting "no to extension and no to inheritance," they alluded to Mubarak's son, Gamal Mubarak, who has risen to the highest ranks of the ruling party and is reportedly being groomed to succeed his father.

"We are telling everyone, we refuse you -- enough," said protester Suzanne Esmat. She says the reforms heralded by the government are just a "show in front of the world, but we don't buy it."

Pushing the Limits

Nawal Ahmed, a journalist who claims to have been beaten and sexually harassed last Wednesday, also joined the protest. "Nothing less than an apology from the president and the resignation of the interior minister will do," Ahmed said.

Despite the government's tepid reaction to the assaults, analysts believe the anti-presidential camp has forged uncharted political territory in Egypt. A few months ago, it would have been unthinkable to voice public criticism of the president or his son.

Human rights activist Kassem says Egyptians feel like they can protest because of "the protection people began to feel they are getting from the international community."

Despite the United States' negative image among Arabs, some Egyptians welcomed Bush's condemnation of the violence during the protest. Analysts say this confirms people's belief that the regime will no longer be supported or tolerated if it resorts to repression.

At the moment, Bush is the most unpopular U.S. president ever, says Kassem, but in a few years people might look differently at his legacy in the Arab World. Even if the protesters don't represent millions, "their numbers are rapidly increasing," Kassem said.

That may be true. The protesters today outnumbered last week's crowd of opposition members.

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