New Egyptian regime bars officials from leaving the country


Cairo, Feb 12 (PTI) A day after the ouster of HosniMubarak, the Egyptian military today banned top officials fromtravelling outside the country to ensure that formerpresidential loyalists don''t flee.

The ban comes into force immediately, an officialannouncement from the new regime said as army removedbarricades and barbed wires from around the Tahrir Square andthe Egyptian capital limped back to normalcy after 18-days ofturmoil.

An official statement said that officials could onlytravel with permission from State Prosecutor or the armedforces.

The new move to put restrictions on movements ofMubarak loyalists came as mystery continued to surround thewhereabouts of the deposed president and his family.

While officially it is stated that Mubarak has shiftedto his Sharm-al-Sheikh resort on the Red sea, other reports inthe Arab media said he may have moved to Europe or the Gulf.

There was no word or mention of the ex-president fromthe new regime.

The steps to ensure that officials don''t flee thecountry came after nightlong celebrations as Egyptians woke toa new dawn today after 30 years of autocratic rule underMubarak.

Men, women and children, lauded the world over fortheir near violence free revolution, swept the streetscollecting rubbish as tanks still lurked on the sides of mainroads.

The army joined in by using heavy cranes to removebarricades as soldiers cut the barbed wire.

As a further sign of order returning, the SupremeMilitary Command Council, which has taken over the reins afterMubarak fled to his Sharm-al Sheikh resort retreat, announcedthat night curfew would be now in force only post midnight.

Protesters are divided over maintaining their vigil ofthe Square, while some want to go back home, others want tostay to ensure that military abides by its commitment totransfer power to civilian government through free and fairelections.

They await a word from the new regime headed byMubarak loyalist 75-year--old Field Marshal Mohammed HusseinTantawi who heads the Supreme Council of the Armed forces.

The council is expected to make a statement aboutplans to form a transitional government.

In its third statement so far, the Council said thatit respects the mood of the people.

"The Council will issue further statements that willannounce forthcoming steps, measures and arrangements, and itaffirms at the same time that it is not a replacement for thelegitimacy that is acceptable to the people," a militarystatement said.

The repercussions of the downfall of Mubarak are creating ripples as reports said that hundreds of policemenwere out on the streets in Ismailiya, alleging that seniorofficers had forced them to shoot at protesters.

The police and Mubarak''s secret police are the mostdetested elements of the ex-regime and have been target ofpopular wrath.

It was the longest night for the Egyptians, as joyfulpeople in thousands were still holding celebrations as dawnbroke in the Egyptian capital singing and dancing in thestreets.

"Some of us want to return home. Others want to stayon to guard our victory. We are forming a Facebook group tokeep in touch", a protester who was going home said.

Another democracy vigilante declared, "We propose toreturn and meet here each year on January 25 the start of theprotest".

Most of the thousands gathered there described theannouncement of stepping down of Mubarak as the "mostmomentous day of their life".

The Army also lifted all the barricades on the roadadjacent to the museum. The soldiers and civilian volunteersalso cut metal barriers and barbed wire as cranes took awaytorched vehicles.

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