Mohamed ElBaradei, a Noble laureate and widely considered an alternative leader to President Hosni Mubarak's regime even before the protests in January, has returned to Egypt to join the massive anti-Mubarak protests.

Mubarak's government has to listen to the people, said ElBaradie on Thursday after he landed in Egypt.

 

He warned that if the current regime were to use force against protesters -- which it already has -- it would be completely counterproductive and lead to an awful situation.

 

ElBaradie said he's there in Egypt for the people, particular those who have organized peaceful demonstrations. He will give them political, spiritual, and moral support.

 

Egypt's revolt has been essentially leaderless so far; the protesters are united by their shared frustration with the economy and the heavy-handed government. They have organized many of their demonstrations through the social network sites and blogs.

 

Many of them are calling for the end of Mubarak's 30-year dictatorship. Now, with ElBaradie on the scene, they can potentially rally behind a hugely popular and internationally respected figure.

 

Before ElBaradie left for Egypt, he said to Reuters : [Mubarak] has served the country for 30 years and it is about time for him to retire.

 

The barrier of fear is broken and it will not come back, he told reporters in Egypt on Thursday.