'We Want What You Have: We Want our Freedom'

Embeded with protestors in Cairo, ABC News' Christiane Amanpour reports.

ByABC News
January 31, 2011, 5:37 PM

CAIRO, Jan. 31, 2011— -- Up until today I've been struggling with whether this is going to go the way of the revolution in Iran in 1979, when millions of people came out on the street and overthrew the Shah -- or protests we all saw in Iran in 2009 when the so called "green revolution" was quickly put down.

But today something happened that I think was very significant.

The Egyptian army went on state television and read a statement in which they said they accepted people's right to peacefully express themselves and that the army would never use force against the Egyptian people.

So the one question that everyone has been asking since the beginning, "What will happen if the army is given the order to fire?" was answered. They will not fire on the people.

The other significant announcement was that the new vice president said he was asked by President Mubarak to begin immediate dialogue with all members of the opposition.

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But when we were in the crowd in Liberation Square earlier, it seemed that nothing the president could do would placate the people. They want him out, they said, "now."

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The protestors have called for a million people to turn out Tuesday in cities across Egypt. I am waiting to see if these protests grow bigger.

Right now, they have settled into an almost carnival atmosphere, with people gathering downtown in the square in full view of the soldiers on tanks, who have not interfered at all. The protesters have set up their own ad-hoc ID checks to make sure the police don't come in.

The police are blamed for much of the violence in the early days of the uprising. The people have also formed their own cleanup crews, and the square looks almost pristine, as they spend almost 24 hours a day there in defiance of the curfew.

There were many things people wanted to tell me on Tahrir Square today. An ANC chief was among them, and said, "We want what you have. We want our freedom. We want to be able to say what we want, gather where we want and freely elect our leaders."