Egyptians Tell Couric No 'Change Without Cost'

CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric reports from Liberation Square where Egyptians are demanding to be liberated from poverty and oppression. It's the biggest demonstration by far since the uprising began one week ago.

The ancient city of Cairo is the epicenter of an uprising by the people of the country who say the time has come for a new Egypt. When the man many say represents old Egypt finally spoke to the people he only stoked the fires of anger and resentment.

(Scroll down to watch the video.)

President Hosni Murbarak on state television tonight announced he would not seek re-election - effectively ending his 30 year rule of Egypt.

In a defiant address to the nation, he said he wanted to restore stability and help with a peaceful transition of power. He also is asking parliament to speed up the election now scheduled for September.

Complete Coverage: Anger in the Arab World

His message was watched by a massive crowd in Cairo's Liberation Square. The atmosphere is like a turbo-charged street festival - a somewhat raucous display of civil disobedience. Even though the government shut down subway, commuter trains and the internet, it did not stop hundreds of thousands of people from pouring into the heart of Cairo.

"We are not terrorists," said Rania, one of the protestors. "We are civilized. We never spoke before because we never had the chance to speak of what we really believed."

Live Blog Day 8: Crisis in Egypt

President Mubarak survived multiple assassination attempts - but it appears tonight a relatively peaceful uprising that had been simmering for decades was his political undoing.

And as unrest continues to spread across the Arab world there was a major shakeup in Jordan - just 300 miles from Cairo. King Abdullah II fired his nation's government and appointed a new prime minister who will select a new cabinet. The preemptive move was a response to large protests in the streets of another moderate Arab nation.

After Egypt, How Will the Dominoes Fall?

In Cairo, there was a mass exodus of foreigners including thousands of Americans anxious to leave the country - ending up in airports from Athens to Frankfurt.

But that did not stop some Egyptian nationals like Karim - a financial planner living in Switzerland - from coming to Cairo to take part in the most historic moment Egypt has seen in his lifetime.

"There is not change without cost and that's the cost we're paying right now," Karim said. "We'd rather start reform today than wait another 30 years to get a new president."

  • Katie Couric

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter