Egypt Update

MIDDLEBURY STUDY ABROAD UPDATE: The following is an excerpt from an update sent last night to the Middlebury Community by Jeffrey Cason, Dean of International Programs:

At approximately 11:45pm local time (4:45pm EST), a charter flight with all 22 students participating in the Middlebury program in Alexandria—as well as 2 Middlebury staff members—took off from Borg el Arab airport in Alexandria, with a destination of Prague. We were also able to offer space to a dozen students from another American program seeking to depart.

Students will spend at least one night in Prague, and we will work with our travel agents to get students from Prague to the United States on commercial flights as soon as possible…

Soldiers with a tank in Tahrir Square on Tuesday. (via NYTimes.com)

EGYPT UPDATE: All 22 students from Middlebury’s program have left Egypt, but the Egyptian people have not left the streets. The protest in Cairo, now in its second week,

“…was far bigger and more tumultuous than in the previous week, suggesting that the authorities had been unable to prevent the uprising from reaching what had been seen by all sides as a potential turning point.” (NYTimes.com)

Many have suggested that Mubarak’s fate hinges on the Egyptian Army’s support. If so, his chances looked even slimmer after the Army’s statement on Monday night:

The week-old uprising here entered a new stage about 9 p.m. on Monday when a uniformed military spokesman declared on state television that “the armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people.” Addressing the throngs who took to the streets, he declared that the military understood “the legitimacy of your demands” and “affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody.”

As the crowds in Tahrir swell into the hundreds of thousands- demonstrators hoped to gather 1 million people today- Mubarak still refuses to resign:

“…Mr. Mubarak seemed to be trying to wait out the protesters. He appeared on television soberly shaking the hands of a new roster of cabinet ministers in a public demonstration that even though protesters may control the streets, he remained head of state.” (NYTimes.com)

For more updates, follow the NYTimes’ Lede Blog.

NOTABLE ELSEWHERE: The protests in Tunisia and Egypt sparked similar demonstrations in Jordan. In response, King Abdullah II dismissed his entire cabinet, including his unpopular Prime Minister Samir Rifai. A new cabinet has not yet been appointed.

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