31 January 2011 Last updated at 10:59
Egypt protesters vow to step up pressure
Tens of thousands of people have gathered in central Cairo for a seventh day of protest, calling for a general strike.
Police have been ordered back to the streets, to positions they abandoned on Friday, but it is not clear whether they are returning to central Cairo.
The demonstrators are also planning a huge march to take place on Tuesday.
Protesters want President Hosni Mubarak to step down after 30 years in power, but he has promised political reform.
The president has ordered his new Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to push through democratic reforms and create new jobs.
Correspondents say all the signs continue to suggest that the only change the protesters will settle for is Mr Mubarak's removal from office.
Meanwhile Moodys Investor Services downgraded Egypt's bond rating and changed its outlook from stable to negative, following a similar move by Fitch Ratings last week. Both cited the political crisis.'Protest of millions'
But there were signs of disagreement within the opposition, with the largest group, the Muslim Brotherhood, appearing to go back on its endorsement of leading figure Mohamed ElBaradei as a negotiator with Mr Mubarak.
As demonstrations enter their seventh day, correspondents say there are at least 50,000 people on Tahrir Square in the centre of the city.
Elsewhere the streets are busy and things appear to be returning to normal, with some police returning and seen directing traffic.
But there are no riot police, and the BBC's Jim Muir in Cairo says the government is being quite clever in keeping the unpopular police force out of contact with the protesters.
There are plans for a "protest of the millions" march on Tuesday.
On Sunday, most of the crowd in Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square were unfazed by low-flying air force jets and a helicopter.
"Change is coming," promised Mr ElBaradei when he addressed the crowds.Continue reading the main story
At the scene
The square is still cordoned off by tanks on all the approach road but the army is very relaxed - they're letting people come and go. People on foot are coming through past these tanks, many with "Down with Mubarak" on them and joining the crowds behind me in the square.
There's been a lot of chanting anti-Mubarak slogans but beyond that we don't really know what's expected today.
They're hoping for a demonstration but the focal point may end up being on tomorrow, when they're planning a very big march in town to try to reinvigorate this movement.
A lot of people told me last night they're beginning to worry about what to do next if Mr Mubarak simply stays, and he's showing every sign of doing that.
Mr ElBaradei has been mandated by opposition groups to negotiate with the regime.
But a spokesman for the largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, appeared to reject this position.
"The people have not appointed Mohamed ElBaradei to become a spokesman of them," Mohamed Morsy told the BBC.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is much stronger than Mohamed ElBaradei as a person. And we do not agree on he himself to become representing [sic] this movement, the movement is represented by itself, and it will come up with a committee... to make delegations with any government."
Thousands rallied in Alexandria and there were also sizeable demonstrations in Mansoura, Damanhour and Suez.
Police were noticeable by their absence so the protests were not marked by the sort of clashes which have left at least 100 people dead since rallies began on Tuesday.
But with continued reports of looting, the Interior Minister Habib al-Adly announced on Sunday that police would be back on the streets to restore order.Economic impact
The unrest is having an impact on the Egyptian economy, beyond the closure of shops and businesses and the call for a general strike.Continue reading the main story
- Most populous Arab nation, with 84.5 million inhabitants
- Authoritarian rule for 30 years under President Hosni Mubarak
- Protests against corruption, lack of democracy, inflation, unemployment
- Triggered by overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia
On Monday, New Zealand joined a growing list of countries warning their nationals not to travel to Egypt if they can avoid it and the US, Japan and China are among states preparing to evacuate their citizens.
Tourism is a vital sector in the Egyptian economy, accounting for about 5 to 6% of GDP.
Meanwhile, Japanese car maker Nissan has announced that it is halting production at its Egypt plant for a week, and it has urged non-Egyptian employees to leave the country.
Global markets are also likely to react. The Nikkei fell in early trading in Tokyo as the Egyptian unrest prompted investors to shun riskier assets.'Orderly transition'
International pressure is growing for some kind of resolution.
In the strongest language yet, both US President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked about the need for an "orderly transition" to a democratic future for Egypt.
The White House says Mr Obama made a number of calls about the situation over the weekend to foreign leaders including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The protests in Egypt are top of the agenda of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.
China, meanwhile, has called for a return to order.
"Egypt is a friend of China's, and we hope social stability and order will return to Egypt as soon as possible," a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said on Sunday.
The unrest in Egypt follows the uprising in Tunisia which ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two weeks ago after 23 years in power.
Monday, 31 January 2011
BBC News - Egypt protesters step up pressure on Hosni Mubarak