|Thousands of Egyptians demanded an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule and clashed with police on Tuesday, in unprecedented protests inspired by the revolt that brought down Tunisia's president. (REUTERS)|
By Jijo Jacob
International Business Times
Embattled Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's son, who has been widely seen as his successor, has fled the country, according to US-based Arabic website Akhbar al-Arab.
Gamal Mubarak, the politician son of the 82-year-old president, fled along with his wife and daughter, several newspapers reported, citing the Akhbar al-Arab report, even as Egypt's 'day of rage' bloomed in fearsome fashion at Cairo's al-Tahrir square where more than 30,000 protesters bayed for the end of Mubarak's rule.
Earlier, unconfirmed reports said Mubarak's wife also fled to London on Tuesday as nationwide protests swelled and three people, including a police officer, were reportedly killed.
There were numerous reports on the Internet and from live bloggers that Gamal Mubarak and family hopped on to a private plane that took them to London, along with scores of baggages and luggages, reminiscent of the removal of the unpopular president in Tunisia earlier in the month.
Protests are not allowed in Egypt where a 30-year state of emergency was renewed for further two years recently. But president Mubarak's grip on power has faced intense challenge in recent years as a mosaic of disparate but powerful opposition forces appeared to make the final push for Mubarak's ouster.
The Islamic Brotherhood, which has been repressed all along the rule of Mubarak, has been the focal point of the opposition protests in Egypt. They have now been joined by armies of dissatisfied youths driven by the passsion to effect reforms. The simmering discontent snowballed into a coherent campaign when the former UN nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei became the public face of the protest last year. He has made public his intent to contest the upcoming presidential election and stood up against human rights violations in the country.
On Tuesday, the nation-wide protests became a tidal wave as supporters of the '6 April' movement and activists from al-Ghad and al-Wafd parties joined hands with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Though reports showed the participation of the Brotherhood in Tuesday’s protests was lackadaisical, the government blamed the Brotherhood for fomenting violence.
Analysts believe that the chances of the Egyptian unrest assuming more threatening shape in the coming days are high. The ouster of unpopular president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia instigated a vehement Internet campaign in Egypt giving hope to tens of thousands of protesters that hated dynastic regimes can be overthrown.
"While all Arab governments are shaking, and think tanks are giving advice to their governments on how to suffocate similar movements in their own societies, the Arab people has already declared that the Tunisian revolt represents hope, and saluted it as an example for them," Abdul Ilah Albayaty, an Iraqi political analyst, Hana Al Bayaty, an author and political activist and Ian Douglas, a lecturer in politics, wrote in Global Research last week.
They said the similarities between Egypt and Tunisia are numerous and hard to miss. ""How can Tunisia not influence other Arab countries, while all these countries belong to one Arab nation, which was originally divided by colonial forces into separated states?