'This Week' Transcript: Crisis in Egypt

(on-screen): We're driving from the airport into town. It's practically deserted, very few cars. But there are bands of vigilantes, ad hoc neighborhood watch groups, young men and boys out with wooden batons, metal bars, even machetes. They are watching out for looters and any kind of crime spree, because there is no security.

(voice-over): They had gathered to protect their property. And while it was tense, they were also friendly and waved us through.

(on-screen): So you've mobilized your own security?

(UNKNOWN): Absolutely. There's no...

AMANPOUR: Is there none?

(UNKNOWN): There's nothing (inaudible)

AMANPOUR (voice-over): By morning, police are still nowhere to be seen, but the army is out in force, especially here around Tahrir, or Liberation Square, and yet the people keep coming.

(on-screen): In full view of the tanks of the army deployed, these people are shouting that the people want the regime's downfall.

(voice-over): Mubarak's steps to try to pacify the protesters by reshuffling the government has simply stiffened their resolve. They say they want him gone.

(UNKNOWN): All the people, Egyptian people (inaudible) go out, go to the Hell, and your family (ph).

AMANPOUR: And the tense standoff between the president and the people continues.

It's been an extraordinary week in Cairo and across Egypt. Day after day, tens of thousands of Egyptians young and old demonstrating in dramatic defiance of President Hosni Mubarak, braving water cannon and rubber bullet, daring to believe the unthinkable, that this popular uprising might actually mean the end for a military strongman who has ruled his country with an iron fist for three decades.

To the United States, Mubarak is a rare pillar of strength in the troubled Middle East, a staunch ally, and one of only two Arab leaders who've made peace with Israel.

To his own people, however, Mubarak is an authoritarian whose repressive regime has imprisoned dissidents and engaged in widespread torture. This, alongside the grinding poverty and mass unemployment, is driving the protests.

The past few days have been marked by sometimes violent clashes with police, as protesters openly defied a government-imposed curfew. On Friday, restaurants and even Mubarak's party headquarters were set ablaze. Dozens have been killed, and some of the bodies have been carried through the streets.

Mubarak himself finally addressed the nation in the early hours of Saturday morning, announcing that he would dismiss the current government, but making it clear that he wasn't going anywhere.

MUBARAK (through translator): And -- and putting a new government in place that will achieve our new goals, one that protects the security and safety of all Egyptians. This is my responsibility.

AMANPOUR: President Obama, who'd spoken to Mubarak for 30 minutes by phone, had this to say.

OBAMA: Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people. And suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.

AMANPOUR: The United States gives Mubarak's government more than $1 billion in aid every year.

(UNKNOWN): They're throwing tear gas.

AMANPOUR: Now, tear gas canisters marked "Made in America" are raining down on protesters who are demanding freedom. Saturday, the protests continued, and now there was also widespread looting, including at the famed Cairo Museum, home to priceless antiquities.

Page
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...