With throngs cheering, Mohamed Elbaradei, the Nobel Prize-winning former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, joined protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Sunday night.
“Today, I have come to share with you the most beautiful day for Egypt,” he told the demonstrators. “Today, I look into the eyes of each and every one of you. Each of us is a different Egyptian. Today, we are proud of Egyptians.”
“We have restored our rights, restored our freedoms, and what we have begun cannot be reversed,” ElBaradei continued.
“And as we mentioned before, we have a key demand, and that’s for the regime to step down, and to start a new era,” he concluded.
With ElBaradei’s arrival in Egypt last week, dissident groups have started to coalesce around the internationally recognized figure as the likeliest leader of a unified opposition struggling against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Al Jazeera reported that ElBaradei had been in contact with the Egyptian military and had a mandate to form a new, national unity government, according to Business Insider.
Earlier in the day, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate told CNN that it was time for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to “leave today and save the country.”
“This is a country that is falling apart,” he said.
The US is “losing credibility by the day” by calling for democracy in Egypt while continuing to support Mubarak, ElBaradei told CBS News.
Protesters have pledged to continue their demonstrations until the Egyptian president steps down.
“The whole regime must change,” one protester was quoted as saying. “We’re staying here until Mubarak leaves.”
This video is from Al Jazeera, broadcast Jan. 30, 2011.