Opposition wants more than just talk

Egyptian Coptic Christians and Muslims raise a cross on the 13th day of protests in Tahrir Square in central Cairo calling for the end to President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

Opposition groups including the banned Muslim Brotherhood held talks with the government yesterday to resolve Egypt’s political crisis, but said their core demand for the removal of President Hosni Mubarak was not met.

Demonstrators in central Tahrir Square, focal point of an uprising that has rocked the Arab world and alarmed Western powers, said they would intensify their 12-day battle to oust the president who has vowed to stay on until September.

The government and the armed forces meanwhile tried to get the nation back to work on Sunday, the first day for banks to open after a week-long closure due to unrest in which up to 300 people may have been killed.

As the talks took place, armored personnel carriers stood guard at Cairo intersections where soldiers had erected sandbag barriers. Buses dropped employees off at large state banks.

The government’s willingness to talk to the Brotherhood was testimony to the ground that protesters have gained since the protests first swept the nation on Jan. 25.

Before then, members of the Brotherhood — by far the best-organized opposition group — were regularly rounded up and jailed. The demonstrators around Tahrir Square, largely young and secular, lack their clear organization and leadership.

Tide turns in favor of Brotherhood

The first time Essam el-Erian went to jail, he was 27. Last Sunday, he left prison for the eighth time at the age of 57.

The medical doctor’s crime for each incarceration was belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most influential and best-organized Islamist opposition movement and long-feared by President Hosni Mubarak, Israel and the United States.

Egypt’s courts have repeatedly rebuffed the Brotherhood’s requests for recognition as a party on the grounds that the constitution bans parties based on religion.

Now the world could not look more different to the past three decades when Brotherhood members were repressed, arrested, tried in military courts and shunned by the Egyptian government.

After the last tumultuous days of popular revolt against Mubarak, it is now the government that is seeking out the Muslim Brotherhood to discuss Egypt’s future.

The once-outlawed group is finally well-placed to play a prominent role as Mubarak’s government struggles to survive after 30 years in power.

“I’ve been in and out since 1981,” said Erian, a leading figure in the Brotherhood. “I have seen all forms of torture. I have been suspended by ropes, beaten, electrocuted and left outside in the cold for hours.

“All this only increased my resolve,” said Erian. “The Mubarak regime exists to monopolize not only power but wealth.”

His group has been active in the uprising. But decades of repression have taught the Brotherhood to take a backseat and it is anxious to maintain the impression that the Islamists are one part of the wider protest movement.

“We’re not seeking power, but our participation is a duty under a democratic and independent process. Our goal is to make sure the identity of society is Islamic,” Erian said.

“It is the right of everybody to compete and if people like us then where is the problem? We have sacrificed a lot. … It is our right to win a majority as in any country, like Turkey.”

ElBaradei slams talks

Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei slammed fledgling negotiations on Egypt’s future yesterday and said he was not invited.

The Nobel Peace laureate said weekend talks with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman were managed by the same people who had ruled the country for 30 years and lack credibility. He said the negotiations were not a step toward the change protesters have demanded in 12 days of demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…