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This Is A Guide To Who's Fighting Who In The Egyptian Protests

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The protest in Egypt continues to unfold on our TV screens and in our Twitter feeds. Here's an at-a-glance look at who's who in the struggle, including the government, the oppositions groups and the Nobel Laureate whose tweets are reaching millions, as described by the BBC.

The Government: President Hosni Mubarak
Few expected that the little-known vice-president who was elevated to the presidency in the wake of Anwar Sadat's 1981 assassination would hold on to the country's top job for so long.
Mr Sadat was assassinated by Islamic radicals at a military parade in Cairo, and Mr Mubarak was lucky to escape the shots as he sat next to him.

Since then, he has survived at least six assassination attempts - the narrowest escape shortly after his arrival in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, in 1995 to attend an African summit, when his limousine came under attack.

Besides his knack for dodging bullets, the former Air Force commander has also managed to keep a hold on power for three decades, positioning himself as a trusted Western ally and fighting off a powerful opposition movement at home.

But with his regional clout waning, his health failing, and his succession unclear, many question how long Mr Mubarak will be able carry on... .

In effect, Hosni Mubarak has ruled as a quasi-military leader since he took power.

For his entire period in office, he has kept the country under emergency law, giving the state sweeping powers of arrest and curbing basic freedoms.

The government argues the draconian regime has been necessary to combat Islamist terrorism, which has come in waves during the decades of Mr Mubarak's rule - often targeting Egypt's lucrative tourism sector... .

In recent years, Mr Mubarak has felt for the first time the pressure to encourage democracy, both from within Egypt, and from his most powerful ally, the United States.

But many supporters of reform doubt the veteran ruler's sincerity when he says he is all for opening the political process.

Read the full profile, here

The Opposition Groups


This youth opposition coalition was the main organizing force behind Tuesday's demonstrations. It started the call for the "day of anger" on Tuesday, 25 January, citing a list of demands on its website. They included the departure of the interior minister, an end to the restrictive emergency law, and a rise in the minimum wage. The movement is urging Egyptians to "take to the streets and keep going until the demands of the Egyptian people have been met".

The movement began as an Egyptian Facebook group in 2008 to support workers in the northern industrial town of Mahalla al-Kubra and called for a national strike on 6 April that year.

Members, who include many young well-educated Egyptians, have shown a greater willingness than others to risk arrest and start public protests. They have successfully organized pro-democracy rallies and a large welcoming party for the former United Nations' nuclear watchdog chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, when he returned to his home country in February 2010.

The group uses Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to alert its networks about police activity, organize legal protection and publicize its efforts.


This umbrella organisation for opposition groups was set up by Mohamed ElBaradei [see below] when he returned to Egypt after many years abroad, declaring his wish to be a "tool for reform".

Mr ElBaradei did not participate in the latest protests but he did back them in a post on his Twitter feed: "Fully support call 4 peaceful demonstrations vs. repression & corruption. When our demands for change fall on deaf ears what options remain?" Several members of his group were summoned by security services in the run-up to demonstrations.

Also on Tuesday, the NAC issued a statement calling on President Hosni Mubarak not to seek a sixth term in September's presidential election and opposing any succession of power by his son, Gamal. It also demanded dissolving the newly elected parliament where the ruling NDP controls more than 90% of seats.

In the NAC, leaders of liberal political parties like al-Ghad and the Democratic Front are represented alongside Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood. The loose coalition also includes prominent intellectuals and veteran activists, among them members of Kefaya, the Egyptian Movement for Democratic Change, which organized unprecedented rallies ahead of elections in 2004.

The NAC has demanded an end to the state of emergency and democratic and constitutional reforms. Efforts to collect a million signatures in support of its programme were significantly boosted by the active involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood.

However divisions grew when the Islamist group would not join its boycott of last year's parliamentary elections. The groups were already at odds over strategy, with many activists advocating more direct confrontation of the regime than Mr ElBaradei was prepared to countenance.


Despite an official ban, the Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's largest and most organised opposition movement. The interior ministry blamed the organisation for rioting that took place on Tuesday, saying that a number of protesters "particularly a large number of those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood… began to riot, damage public property and throw stones at police forces".

However, their numbers in the protests is unclear. The conservative leadership decided not to fully endorse the demonstrations to the anger of some younger supporters. A senior spokesman, Essam el-Erian, said he did expect large numbers of the organisation's members to participate of their own accord, and called on them to stick to peaceful methods. Leaflets outlining its political demands were distributed at the rally.

Until last year, Muslim Brotherhood members (running as independent candidates) held one-fifth of seats in the last parliament. But it lost its representatives in the 2010 parliamentary election. After a first round of voting was marred by serious fraud and violence, it decided to boycott the second round.

In the past, the group has proven able to draw large crowds out onto the streets but has mostly avoided directly challenging the government. It has organised large protests against Israel's war in Gaza and the US-led war in Iraq, for example.


This well-established party does not enjoy popular support, but previously led the official opposition in parliament. It then boycotted the second round of the last elections because of widespread vote rigging. Along with its president, al-Sayed al-Badawi, it has often been accused of being too close to the government and giving it the cover of an official secular opposition.

Like the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr al-Badawi did not join Tuesday's protests, but gave his approval for the youth of his party to participate in their personal capacity. He then announced his own demands on Arab satellite television for the dissolution of parliament, a new national unity government and new elections under a proportional representation system.


The founder of the liberal al-Ghad (Tomorrow) party, Ayman Nour, spent over three years in prison on what were widely seen as trumped-up forgery charges after finishing a distant second to President Mubarak in the last presidential election. While he was behind bars, his party was taken over by government supporters. Its headquarters were then set on fire in a dispute between rival factions.

Since his release in February 2009, Mr Nour has been a regular presence at anti-government demonstrations. His group set up a movement to oppose presidential succession before joining the National Association for Change. Mr Nour is still thought to harbour presidential ambitions but no longer has the high profile he did in 2004. He joined in Tuesday's protest.

(Link to BBC story.)

The Nobel Laureate: Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed ElBaradei, an NYU law school graduate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate is a key figure among opposition players. Here's the BBC's full profile:

Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel peace laureate and former head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, has emerged as a leading voice for political reform and likely challenger for Egypt's presidency since returning home in early 2010.

Mr ElBaradei joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1984 and worked his way up to director general 13 years later.

He secured a third term at the helm of the Vienna-based agency after the US eventually backed him, although ties between Washington and the IAEA have not been without tension over the years.

Mr ElBaradei agreed with the administration of US President George W Bush on a number of key nuclear-related issues, but was not afraid to speak his mind.

He particularly lambasted what he saw as double standards on the part of countries that have nuclear weapons, but which seek to prevent others from procuring them... .

Born in Egypt in 1942, Mr ElBaradei studied law at the University of Cairo. He began his career in the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1964, and worked in Egypt's permanent mission to the UN both in New York and in Geneva.

He holds a doctorate in international law from New York University's law school.

In 1980 he became a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Programme at the UN's Institute for Training and Research.

Mr ElBaradei is married to Aida Elkachef, a teacher, with whom he has two children.

Daughter Laila is a lawyer who lives in London with her husband, an investment banker, and Mr ElBaradei's son, Mostafa, is an IT manager who lives in Cairo.

Mr ElBaradei's political credibility in the Middle East comes from the time when he questioned the claims about weapons of mass destruction that were being used to justify the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

After taking over from Swedish diplomat Hans Blix in 1997, Mr ElBaradei employed diplomacy to deal with other nuclear rows in North Korea and Iran.

He insisted progress could be made even in the most difficult situations.

But his views on Iraq did not always accord with the Bush administration, and his approach to Iran was perceived as not tough enough by the US and its allies in the European Union.

Mr ElBaradei won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation.

When he left the IAEA in November 2009, hundreds of his admirers defied warnings from Egyptian security forces three months later not to welcome him home at Cairo airport.

Mr ElBaradei is viewed as the most credible potential challenger for presidential elections in 2011... .

After weeks out of the public eye, Mr ElBaradei led thousands of protesters in the northern city of Alexandria in June at a rally demanding an end to police brutality.

The former diplomat may need all the tact he can muster if he harbors hopes of loosening Mr Mubarak's grip on the levers of power at 2011's election.

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