Suleiman alluded to the chance that the requirements could be eased and some reforms could happen before an election, but stressed that Egypt “has to put restrictions on who can run for president.”
Egypt’s democracy protesters, many defying a curfew in Tahrir Square in central Cairo tonight, immediately dismissed his comments, particularly his claim that their demands have been met and his call to “end your sit-in."
“When he said that a president stepping down is alien to us, people in Tahrir were almost fainting,” says Khaled Abol Naga, an Egyptian film star who’s spent most of the past few days with demonstrators at Tahrir calling for Mubarak’s downfall.
“People were enraged by these stupid claims in the year 2011. [The regime] thinks the people are a bunch of animals. These are a bunch of educated Egyptians, not the Muslim Brotherhood, not other parties. It’s people from all walks of life and they’re determined that Mubarak go,” he says.
Suleiman also sought to bolster a narrative that’s been spun out by new Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and other officials in the past day: That unidentified “outsiders” created the violence that claimed at least 10 lives around Tahrir Square on Wednesday evening and early Thursday. Suleiman said that “many of the protesters in Tahrir Square have foreign agendas.”