February 1st 2011: The ”Million Man March” drew (in my estimation) between 100-200.000 protesters to Tahrir Square in central Cairo. Except for enormous crowds and difficulties to move around, I didn't witness any violence or potential violent situations. Quite the opposite what most people had expected, the atmosphere felt more like that of a carnival than an anti-government protest. People were gathering in groups, singing and cheering. Women were handing out cookies, bread was provided, Egyptian flags were waved everywhere. People brought their young children to the square. On our way in to the square we went through two civilian security checks, where our bags and pockets were searched for weapons.
Simply put, everyone was happy. That is until late in the evening, when Mubarak announced that he will not run for the next election in September, but doesn't intend to leave his post until then. For most of the protesters, this isn't enough. They want him gone now, not in 8 months. Others are settling with the announcement and says that since they have lived with his rule for 30+ years, they can do it for another few months if only that means that order will be restored and that the next election will be democratic.
We weren't present in the square when the announcement was made, but we've learned through TV that dissatisfied shouts are echoing throughout the city. It remains to be seen what tomorrow will bring.