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Is today a turning point for Egypt?

Sarah Holmes Sarah Holmes | 09:18 UK time, Friday, 28 January 2011

Protestors in the streets


This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 28 January 2011. Listen to the programme.

As protests continue across the Middle East, another mass demonstration in Egypt is due to take place after Friday prayers.

The internet and mobile phone signals have been interrupted and riot police have been deployed onto the streets of Cairo to keep control.

One journalist told Al Jazeera he expected one million people to participate in the protests

The former UN nuclear chief and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei arrived in Egypt on Thursday and will be taking part in the protests.

And after keeping quiet for most of the week, the Muslim Brotherhood says it will support the demonstrations today.

The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo said although Egypt is not as vulnerable as Tunisia, anything could happen.

The military, the West, and many powerful and rich people here have a big investment in keeping President Mubarak, or at least ensuring an orderly transition to another leader friendly to the West and to business. There is no sign yet that these protests have the momentum to overcome that. But across the Middle East now, the situation is so unpredictable and events are moving so fast that almost anything can happen.
Protestors face riot police in the streets.

Joseph Mayton, editor-in-chief of Bikya Masr, wrote in The Guardian about what he has been hearing from people across the country:

Although I am not on the streets, the sentiments I am receiving in emails and messages from people on the ground are different from what I expected. They aren't talking about hope and what could be - instead, they are walking and marching for real change. And they are not withdrawing after government efforts to silence them through violence and even murder.

Richard Fox, head of Middle East and Africa sovereign ratings for Fitch Ratings is not expecting a big change.

The situation is clearly fluid... It's very difficult to know what will happen ... but we don't expect a replay of the events in Tunisia. The big difference is there is a much stronger relationship between the military and the ruling party... Stability should be restored in due course, but the risks have increased.

How important are today's protests for Egypt? Will this be a turning point?

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