Egypt Protests Swell Despite Government Steps on Reform,Demonstrations in Egypt

Anti-government protesters hold an Egyptian flag during demonstrations in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 8, 2011

Egypt Protests Swell Despite Government Steps on Reform
Tens of thousands of people have poured into Cairo's Tahrir Square, giving new momentum to anti-government demonstrations. The protesters are keeping up pressure on President Hosni Mubarak to resign, despite an announcement Tuesday that his government is making new concessions.

It was the latest effort by Mubarak's government to give the protesters an incentive to go home, as the demonstrators call for more people to join them.

Newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman went on state television Tuesday saying Mubarak wants a peaceful transfer of power. He said the Egyptian leader ordered a committee to review changes to Egypt's constitution and also to investigate violence during last week's massive demonstrations.
The Egyptian vice president offered reassurances to the demonstrators, many of whom are young people, saying Mubarak believes young people deserve to be appreciated and has given instructions that protesters should not be prosecuted or have restrictions imposed on them or their freedom to express themselves.

Suleiman's words did not appear to move the demonstrators, who staged their 15th day of protests on Tahrir Square, where many are camping out in tents. Many say they will stay there until Mubarak leaves office.

As Suleiman was speaking, a steady stream of protesters made their way past army checkpoints into the square.

Some analysts say the government has succeeded, at least for now, to buy time by making incremental concessions. On Monday, it announced raises in pay and pensions for public sector employees. 

The Mubarak leadership wants normalcy to return to the country after two weeks of often violent demonstrations.

President Mubarak has already said he will leave, by not seeking reelection in September, and some in the opposition agree with him that the transition should be gradual and peaceful.

The protesters say they will not give up their struggle for Mubarak to leave sooner. They are calling for a massive turnout at the end of the week.