Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday February 8, 2011
Hosni Mubarak offers pay rise to buy time
THE Mubarak regime has tried to win over Egypt’s popular uprising by announcing a 15 per cent increase in pay and pensions for public servants.
In the first meeting of the cabinet since the uprising began on January 25, the government of President Hosni Mubarak announced yesterday that the increase would begin from April.
In another gesture, the police said they had released Wael Ghonim, the head of Google’s Middle East operations, who has become a figurehead of the revolt after organising a Facebook page for protesters.
He had been detained while taking part in protests and held incommunicado and without charge under the reviled emergency law that has been in place for three decades.
Mr Mubarak also pledged to launch an “independent” investigation into deadly violence between his supporters and demonstrators last Wednesday at Tahrir Square that left 11 dead and nearly 1000 injured, according to official estimates.
The President “has given instructions for the creation of a . . . transparent, independent and impartial investigatory commission,” the official news agency MENA reported. The commission will investigate “the terrible and unacceptable violations that made some protesters innocent victims”, it said.
The pay hike might buy Mr Mubarak some time by reassuring his partisans in Egypt’s large bureaucracy and security forces but there was no sign that the demonstrators were ready to cede ground. Campaigners sat under the tracks of army tanks deployed around the square. Activists also kept up the pressure by barring access to the Mugamma, the heart of Egypt’s bureaucracy, which dominates the square. (The Australia)