Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. AP 311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
CAIRO — Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak assembled his economy team on Saturday, the Egyptian media reported, as thousands of anti-government protesters remained camped out on Cairo's Tahrir Square.
The political crisis that has engulfed the country since Jan. 25 has cost Egypt an estimated $3.1 billion, with the ensuing violence driving a nation once seen as a pillar of stability to the brink of chaos.
Editor's Notes: The reversal of a generation’s momentum
Column One: Israel and Arab democracy
The state MENA news agency said Mubarak's meetings took place Saturday morning in the presidential palace in Heliopolis, a Cairo suburb miles away from the events in the city center. The report said the oil minister, the financial minister, the Central Bank governor and other top economy officials were present.
On Friday, a rally of nearly 100,000
anti-government protesters failed to force the ruler of 30 years to relinquish power despite pressure from the Obama administration
for a swift exit to allow for a path toward democracy.
The mood among the crowd of several thousand in Tahrir Square was calm,
in a marked contrast to clashes earlier in the week between
anti-government protesters and Mubarak supporters.
Egyptian troops, deployed on the square's periphery, are controlling
access and checking IDs of those entering. Security forces also tried to
clear some of the entrance roads, remove charred hulks of cars and
other debris, remnants of the pitched street battles earlier in the
Opposition leaders have said the protests would not end until Mubarak
leaves office. In an apparent attempt to pace themselves, protest
leaders have said the main rallies in Tahrir Square would take place on
Tuesdays and Fridays.