Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Thousands of people are flocking to Tahrir Square, Cairo, to participate in what will be the largest anti-Mubarak demonstration, "the day of departure." The organizers are expecting at least a million people. Overnight the main square of the capital was relatively quiet after a day of violence and intimidation. The army has reinforced its presence and closed the entrances to the square, with one exception, and long lines were formed to enter. The decision of the military not to fire on demonstrators has been confirmed. The soldiers in riot gear and the security men were deployed around the square, and proceeded to arrest some people but it is still unknown if they were protesters, or pro-Mubarak provocateurs. But people, defying the curfew began to march from the early hours of the day to express their desire for change and democracy.
In an interview the Rais revealed he is "tired" of holding power, confirming that neither he nor his son Gamal will stand in presidential elections, but that he "fears the chaos" and has no intention of leaving the country , even after he is no longer in power. The army is playing an increasingly important role in the negotiations, led by the United States, with Vice-President Omar Suleiman and the Muslim Brotherhood, and military leaders seem to act as a balance of power in the new balance of forces related to the transition.
Internet and the "social networks", needed for contacts between Tahrir Square and the outside are back to normal. Yesterday, the day was marked not only by violence, but also by intimidation, arrests and beatings of journalists and representatives of human rights organizations. The United Nations announced the withdrawal of hundreds of employees or all "unnecessary" personnel. A hotel that houses reporters sent to Cairo was attacked, many foreigners and journalists were brutally beaten.
A score of non-Egyptian reporters, including those of the BBC, were detained. Amnesty International has condemned the arrest of one of its French activists, arrested along with Daniel Williams, a member of Human Rights Watch. Three Italians were kidnapped at a checkpoint and then released only through the insistence of some Australian diplomats who were travelling with them. Despite the massive presence of the army, it is feared that during the big protest, the agents of security services and police linked to the regime will make further acts of provocation and violence. The situation is highly volatile and tense.