Middle East

Egypt unrest: Your stories

There have been moves in Egypt to return the country to normality following two weeks of anti-government protests.

Schools remain closed, but the traffic police are back at work and some banks have re-opened.

BBC News website readers in Egypt have been sharing their stories.

Mohamed Rashad, Alexandria

Image caption "The atmosphere in Alexandria is calm"

I work as an IT manager at a private firm based in Alexandria. The atmosphere today, in stark contrast to last week, is much calmer.

Although I fully support the protests I am relieved that the pace of change has slowed right down. My colleagues and I were able to return to work on Thursday.

I think many Egyptians feel that President Mubarak cannot survive in office beyond September.

He can no longer rely on the draconian measures that have kept him in power for so long, such as clamping down on the press, jailing opponents or challenging the judiciary.

He has lost his political legitimacy and will find it impossible to turn the clock back.

I strongly believe that in spite of the recent setbacks democracy will flourish in Egypt. My country still represents the Middle East's tentative experiment with democracy.

Parties like the Muslim Brotherhood are committed to democratic reform and economic liberalisation.

The Muslim Brotherhood in my opinion is part of the political equation, as much as any other party. Although their ideology is of Islamic nature, this would not be too influential on the ruling system.

Egyptian society is moderate in nature and crucially tolerant, which prevents any radical group from taking over.

Egypt has been in transition for 30 years. Our society is ready for change. But how can we achieve this much needed reform without the participation of the main opposition party, like the Muslim Brotherhood?

Sirwin Baldar, Sharm el-Sheikh

Image caption "I support social and political freedom but not at the expense of valuable tourism"

People in Sharm El Sheikh are now worried. The main conversation now isn't about the protests raging in the capital.

It's now about the effect on local businesses and ordinary citizens losing their jobs.

Fewer tourists are coming here now and hotels, diving businesses, shops and restaurants are closing down.

Egyptians come from all over the country to work in Sharm; many of them from Cairo and Alexandria. But with businesses closing, staff are being forced to leave.

Lots of foreigners and Egyptians are reconsidering whether they want to purchase property here. The local economy is suffering.

Sharm El Sheikh feels like a ghost town just like in 2005 after the Sharm El Sheikh attacks.

Like many other business owners I hope the situation quickly recovers and everything gets back to normal. I support social and political freedom but not at the expense of valuable tourism.

I have already had four people cancel their contract to lease property from me because they simply do not have any funds.

The country will suffer for a while but then I'm hopeful that there will be an upsurge in the economy once we have secured some political stability.

Egypt is one of the best holiday spots ever. Tourists will come back and everything will be calm. But it will take time to build up Egypt again.

Dr Maurice Fahmy, Sharm El Sheikh

Image caption "Mubarak needs to remain as a nominal president to prevent Egypt descending into chaos"

I am an Anglo Egyptian physician currently resident in Sharm on the peaceful Egyptian red sea coast.

I have lived my life between both countries- mostly the UK. I abhor the current Mubarak regime which is totally corrupt.

Thanks to the extremely brave protesters we now have a possibly once only chance at freedom and real democracy, with all it's potential messiness.

I believe that Vicepresident Omar and PM Ahmed Shafiq are honest men and should be given a fair chance to institute the changes that they and Mubarak have promised.

I think that Mubarak needs to remain as a nominal president until the end of his term in order to give stability and the required constitutional legitimacy to the changes.

As well as to avoid Egypt either descending into chaos or having a military led coup d'etat.

I abhor the fundamentalist extremism of the Muslim Brotherhood as much as I abhor the current regime, but I believe that all parties should be part of the discussions and negotiations on the way forward.

Otherwise there is the risk of further insurgency and instability propagated by disaffected groups. Also in a true democracy everyone is entitled to put forward his or her view.

I hope that the end result will be a truly free, democratic, secular Egypt which will go forward with economic and political stability - as much as any democracy can.

Sherif, Tahrir

I live in Tahrir so I can see a lot of what's going on below.

It's been two weeks since the protests started, so people are tired. The euphoria of the revolt has died down and people want to go back to daily life.

At this point, this is still a revolt and not a revolution. Although concessions have been made, the system still hasn't been changed.

People want to see their demands take root, but the regime is betting on time and people getting bored and frustrated.

The authorities are trying to get things back to normal and give the impression that the protesters still in Tahrir Square are just an eccentric group of people. So the banks have reopened, people are being brought back to work.

There are reports that the people in Tahrir will be pressed into going home by the thugs and by the tanks coming in further and further.

The number of people in the square is dwindling, although it's still a significant number. It means that the protest is weakening, but then so is the state.

It's a stand-off - people don't have complete power, but neither does the regime, nor the army.

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