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Protests Continue in Egypt; Muslim Brotherhood to Join Crisis Talks

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By Jerome Socolovsky

Anti-government protests in Egypt continued for a 13th day Sunday. The protesters are seeking an end to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30 year rule. The fundamentalist Muslim brotherhood is the largest faction in a coalition that is seeking Mubarak’s ouster. The brotherhood has agreed to hold talks on Sunday with the government.

Demonstrators have so far resisted the army’s efforts to clear part of Tahrir square. But the army is not using force. In fact, its blockades are helping to protect the protesters from outside threats.

Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt, have agreed to meet with the newly appointed Egyptian vice president, Omar Suleiman. The Brotherhood is the largest faction in the opposition coalition. But this protester on Tahrir Square says he is worried the Brotherhood wants to turn Egypt into an Islamic state.

“I’m Muslim, but I do not like Iran, like Hezbollah or something like that.”

The Muslim Brotherhood has said it will not field a candidate in Egypt’s next presidential election.

Brotherhood members previously held 20 percent of the seats in parliament, but lost them after a disputed election in late 2010. The group leads a peaceful political and social movement aimed at forming an Islamic state.

The United States has urged an orderly transition of power in Egypt, but has not said whether Mubarak should leave immediately.

Meanwhile, banks and businesses are reopening as life begins returning to normal in Egypt. But one of the opposition leaders, Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, is warning that the protests could get what he called “more vicious” if the United States favors allowing Mubarak to stay in power during a transition to democracy.

VOA

VOA

The VOA is the Voice of America

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