BBC News focus: 1746

BBC News focus: 1746

2011-02-04. Category & Tags: Others, POL Others, POL

  • Violent clashes are continuing in Cairo as supporters of the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, lay siege to Tahrir Square, where thousands of anti-government protesters have been demanding he step down immediately.
  • The two sides have been throwing stones and petrol bombs at each other, and fighting with sticks and iron bars. Officials say three people were killed and more than 600 injured.
  • The leading opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei, has condemned the attacks on protesters as a criminal act by a criminal regime. He is reported to have called on the army to intervene.
  • The White House has deplored the violence and called for restraint. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said attacks on peaceful demonstrators are unacceptable.
  • The army has called on all protesters to return home and allow Egypt to return to normal.
  • Live page reporters: Aidan Lewis, Joe Boyle, David Gritten, Yaroslav Lukov and Katie Connolly.
  • All times in GMT.
    0058 That concludes our live coverage of Egypt’s ninth day of anti-government protests, but you can keep up to date with

regular news updates throughout the night.

Thank you for following developments on the BBC.

** 0055**

Shereef Abbas

tweets: “Just the fact that you guys are still tweeting from Tahrir is very comforting to us all.”


0052The Huffington Post spoke to Marwa Rakha, an adjunct professor at the American University in Cairo who participated in the protests. She is seven months pregnant: “If I wasn’t pregnant, I would’ve just stayed home. I went out because of my baby. I owe this to him.”

** 0049**


tweets: “If the protesters succeed in removing the president it will set a powerful precedent to those after him, we can remove you if you mess up”


** 0043**

Aisha Saad

tweets: “Clashes expected at sunrise in Tahrir, youth are mobilizing in advance #Egypt #Jan25”


0035The BBC’s Matthew Price says that from Israel’s perspective it has signed two important peace treaties in the region - one with Egypt and one with Jordan. A senior Jordanian official has told him that if Egypt slides into chaos, its 32-year-old peace treaty with Israel might not last long - and that would put Jordan under immense pressure to look again at its own peace treaty. Both Israel and Jordan are watching nervously what happens in Egypt.

0027 The BBC’s Matthew Price in Amman reports that while most Jordanians are not seeking the overthrow of their country’s king, the elites of the country are still worried about “the destabilising effect of an Egypt in chaos”.

0025The BBC’s Katty Kay notes that one important form of leverage that the US has at its disposal is the enormous amount of aid it grants to Egypt. But, she says, when you ask the White House how long it will take to review the aid budget, aides there don’t know. It could take weeks, while the situation in Cairo is changing by the hour.

0022Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress tells the BBC’s Matt Frei that most of what the US is doing on Egypt is happening behind the scenes. He says there is an “aggressive diplomatic surge” to push Egypt’s rulers to the next stage: a negotiation over power. That looks to be a complicated political negoitation involving a diverse array of opposition figures. Mr Katulis says we should not forget the real fragility of the situation: this is a country that has suffered before at the hands of Islamic extremists.

0019The BBC’s Katty Kay says that despite extensive aid and incredibly close military ties, the Obama administration does not seem to be able to say to President Mubarak that he must leave now and make the transition peaceful. He is digging in his heels. The army wants to make sure that there is stability but in such a way that it benefits the army. But if there are genuine free and fair elections, the army will lose some of its power.

0015 Dr Essam el-Erian, a spokesman for the Islamist opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, tells the BBC: “Nobody in Egypt can trust this promise. Mr Mubarak, staying in power for 30 years, made many promises and did not fulfil them at all. He promised that we could have a free and fair election. All the world knows that [last] election was rigged. And he’s still saying that election was good.”



Anthony DeRosa of Reuters

tweets: “Mubarak supporters have smashed the lights near the area they have quartered off and gathered rocks so they cannot be well seen.”

0010In a blog,

Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch

writes: “Sources in Damascus told me that at around 8:30pm, Syrian security forces violently dispersed a candlelight vigil held for Egyptian protestors. The vigil was held in the Bab Touma neighborhood in old Damascus. The police beat those gathered and took some of them, including known activist Suheir Atassi, to the Bab Touma police station. Suheir has been released and is doing fine.”

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0007 Anti-Mubarak protester Tamer Abbas tells BBC World News America some of the pro-Mubarak protesters he encountered in Tahrir Square on Wednesday were “undercover police” dressed in civilian clothes.



Christiane Amanpour of ABC News

tweets: “Protestors in #Egypt fighting today not just for territory but for political high ground as well.”



Al-Jazeera’s Evan Hill

tweets: “The protesters have won the space for the army to re-establish itself as some kind of buffer, but the army isn’t doing anything.”


Katie Paul, a Newsweek reporter in Syria,

tweets: “Mazen Darwish of Syria’s free expression org says Facebook groups calling for protests were organized from abroad”


2339Senior Obama adviser David Axelrod tells the Huffington Post: “I think that every situation of this sort requires a thoughtful response. You want to respond in a way that’s thoughtful and constructive, and sometimes with foreign policy, the most constructive answer isn’t necessarily the most visceral or satisfying.”

2334Khaled Kamal, a doctor in Cairo, tells the BBC: “The pro-Mubarak protesters were the usual regime mercenaries that we used to see each time they want to end the peaceful protests. People are crying because they fear they have lost what we have built up over the last few days. We tried so hard to keep the protests peaceful. Now we don’t know if we should continue or stop because of the potential for violence. At the same time we don’t want to lose what we achieved in the last few days. If the opposition groups don’t find a solution we will march again on Friday, maybe on the presidential palace. But the real question is what will happen in Tahrir Square tomorrow.”


PJ Crowley, state department spokesman

tweets: “The perpetrators of today’s violence in #Egypt must be held accountable, and the government should tell its supporters to eschew violence”


2328Muhamed Tamamy, an Egyptian doctor who is in Tahrir Square, tells the BBC: “The situation here in the square is better than it was this morning but there’s still a big confrontation going on between the two sides. The thugs thought they’d scare us when they came into the square, but they’d made us more determined. The people in the square fought back and gained confidence as they drove them out of the square. When we catch them, they tell us they took money to come and fight. We don’t know where they came from or who paid them. Anyone who says they are for Mubarak in the square now risks being severely beaten, even to death. After the speech yesterday lots of people went home, saying they would come back if Mubarak didn’t do as he promised. I wanted to leave but after today, I am determined to stay.”

2324Senator McCain continues: “I remain concerned about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations in Egypt that espouse an extremist ideology. But Egypt must have a democratic future. It is the will of the Egyptian people. It is in the interest of the United States. And the greatest contribution that President Mubarak can make to the cause of democracy in his country is to remove himself from power.”

2322US Senator John McCain has just released this statement: “The rapidly deteriorating situation in Egypt leads me to the conclusion that President Mubarak needs to step down and relinquish power. It is clear that the only institution in Egypt that can restore order is the army, but I fear that for it to do so on behalf of a government led by or involving President Mubarak would only escalate the violence and compromise the army’s legitimacy. I urge President Mubarak to transfer power to a caretaker administration that includes members of Egypt’s military, government, civil society, and pro-democracy opposition, which can lead the country to free, fair, and internationally credible elections this year as part of a real transition to democracy.

2318 World Bank President Robert Zoellick tells Reuters that the world’s development agencies must be prepared to act quickly to help the people of Egypt. He says countries like Egypt are hampered by “partial modernization” where, despite the nation’s economic advances, the political system prevents the majority of people from accessing wealth.

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**2314** Amir Abdel-Azim in Menoufia, Egypt, writes: "It's not a confrontation between pro and anti-Mubarak groups but simply it's a desperate move from the ruling party individuals who know very well that if Mubarak stepped down they will be crushed by the Egyptian people."



2310In a blog,

Jake Tapper of ABC News

notes that: “Special envoy to Egypt Frank Wisner is returning from Cairo, with an administration official saying he was no longer able to be as effective a conduit to President Mubarak after their private conversations had been made public. Wisner, the former Ambassador to Egypt during the Reagan and Bush Sr administrations, was sent to Cairo on Sunday at the suggestion of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because of his close relationship with Mubarak. But their back-channel conversations became no longer useful, an administration official said, after they found their way into the media.”

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2258World Bank President Robert Zoellick says the situation in the Middle East is “fragile”. “It is extremely difficult at this point to read exactly what will happen,” he says, adding that implementing economic and social reforms “in a midst of a revolution is a tricky prospect”. “We are certainly on high alert in terms of being able to stay in close touch and see what we can try to do to alleviate the problems, and as they go through the appropriate transitions if they move to reform systems how we can try to support it.”

2252Roger Hardy, a Middle East analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center, tells the BBC: “It does look to me now that the government’s rather Machiavellian strategy was to lull the protesters into a false sense of security in Tahrir Square, where there was a carnival atmosphere. And now their very rude message is: ‘That’s all over. Now go home. And by the way, if you don’t, we won’t start negotiations.’ The role of the army is becoming less and less ambiguous. It is moving away from the protesters and closer to the regime. The next few days are crucial. This could get uglier before we get anything like a resolution. This may sound a little stark, but I feel that Tahrir Square could become and Arab Tiananmen Square.”

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**2248**Amir Abdel-Azim in Menoufia, Egypt, writes: "It's not a confrontation between pro- and anti-Mubarak groups, but simply a desperate move from ruling party individuals who know very well that if Mubarak steps down they will be crushed by the Egyptian people."



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**2247**Esraa Helal in Cairo writes: "Because of our president's speech on Tuesday I turned from anti- to pro-Mubarak. No-one can deny that there is a lot we need to fix, but he admitted many flaws and has already started taking some action. We lost a lot of money and lives on both sides. I think we should stop, reflect and think and consider to give Mubarak a chance."





Egyptian blogger Zeinobia

tweets: “People, Tahrir square is again secured at the time being. It will be a long night,”

2239The BBC’s Andrew North in Washington says: “I have been talking to a number of diplomats here and they are saying that all the evidence is pointing towards state-sponsorship of the violence in Cairo. There possibly was some genuine pro-Mubarak support on the streets as well, but they say they have proof that elements linked to the government were behind it. But the Western powers do not yet want to directly accuse the president and his supporters.”

2235Sallie Pisch of the English-language Egyptian news website, Bikya Masr, tells the BBC: “I absolutely believe that the pro-Mubarak demonstrators are being co-ordinated. From conversations that I’ve had with people, and from previous experience of demonstrations in Egypt, it is very clear that the government is trying to make a statement that people must choose between security and freedom. Many of the people who started the violence were paid by the government. Several sources told me that many of those arrested today were carrying police IDs.”

2229Nabil Ali Mas, a doctor who has been treating some of those hurt in the violence, tells the BBC: “I saw many injured people, from 300 to 400, at least - all kinds of injuries you can find. But I didn’t see any injuries from guns. What I saw was from sharp objects, and there are a lot of fractures, and some people lost their eyes.”

2224Maggie Leon Marga, who lives in a street very close to Tahrir Square, tells the BBC: “Every time the protesters try to escape from the square, they come and hide in our street. They keep throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, which are causing fires to break out in our buildings. We are trying to quench the fires from our balconies. The situation has been terrifying for the past nine days, but today is the worst of them.”

2219The Egyptian-British novelist Ahdaf Soueif tells the BBC: “This movement is being led by groups of young people. They have no reason whatsoever to believe any promises that President Mubarak or his regime make. They’ve really gone far too far. There’s a call for another massive protest on Friday. We’ll see what happens in Tahrir Square tonight. I’ve left my nieces and my son and their friends in the square and they are refusing to leave. It’s important to note that this is pro-democracy, open, modern, young, secular - everything that the world should be supporting.”

2208Mr Badrawi, who has called for reform in the past, also says he “salutes” the protesters, because they have achieved what he could not. “I agree with the protesters about reform. What I don’t agree with is creating a political or constitutional vacuum,” he says. “We have to read the constitution. We have to respect the constitution. We have to amend certain articles in order to have new authorities in place governed by a constitution that represents what the protesters have demanded. The constitution says that if the president passes his powers to the vice-president, he will be able to do everything except amend the constitution, dissolve parliament, or dismiss the government. Now, we have an excellent chance with President Mubarak’s proposals, to make the amendments and then discuss when he should step down.”

2204Hossam Badrawi, a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Party, denies that it has organised the attacks by supporters of the government on the opposition protesters. “Look at who the beneficiaries are. The protesters have won,” he tells the BBC. “If there is any proof of this, it is not acceptable and should be investigated.”

2203 A doctor at a clinic near Tahrir Square tells the Reuters news agency that more than 1,500 people have been injured so far in Wednesday’s violence - nearly three times the official figure.

2146Mr Farid says at least 611 people have been injured in the clashes.

2143Health Minister Ahmed Samih Farid also tells the Associated Press that three people have died. Two young men were brought out of Tahrir Square in ambulances, one already dead and another who later died at a hospital, he says. It is not clear if they were government supporters or opposition protesters. The third fatality was a man who fell from a bridge near the square, Mr Farid says. He was wearing civilian clothes, but may have been a member of the security forces, he adds.

2136Al-Arabiya quotes the Egyptian health minister as saying that three people have been killed in the violence in Cairo on Wednesday.

2128President Mubarak’s son, Gamal, is not in London as has been reported, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague tells the BBC. “I have spoken to… Gamal on the telephone and said if it turns out that there was state-sponsored violence [in Cairo], that would be catastrophic for Egypt and for those who are in government now,” he adds. Gamal Mubarak had been considered a likely to successor to his elderly father until the recent unrest.

2120The Committee to Protect Journalists has accused the Egyptian government of using “blanket censorship, intimidation, and today a series of deliberate attacks on journalists carried out by pro-government mobs” to deprive the world of independent information about the unrest. Reporters Without Borders, meanwhile, has said “infiltrated policemen” joined the assaults. The Egyptian government has denied the allegations.

2116Referring to the pro-government demonstrators, a senior US official tells the Reuters news agency that it is clear that “somebody loyal to Mubarak has unleashed these guys to try to intimidate the protesters”.

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**2108**Tarek in Cairo writes: "I participated in the protests on Tuesday 25 [January] and Friday 28, but I didn't today. I want to get away from a civil war. ElBaradei, the Muslim Brotherhood and other activists and opositiion parties are trying to steal the people's revolution. God help Egypt soon!"



2105The international hacking group, Anonymous, says it is attacking Egyptian government websites, including those of the ministry of information and the ruling National Democratic Party. The websites are currently not accessible from London. The Egyptian authorities only restored internet access in the country earlier on Wednesday.

2059The BBC’s John Simpson in Cairo says: “There is still a lot of fighting going around Tahrir Square, particularly alongside the Egyptian National Museum. From where I am standing, I can see people throwing petrol bombs being thrown. From time to time you also hear quick bursts of gunfire, and see tracer rounds fly from one side of the square to the other. I suspect that is coming from soldiers, who are probably trying to dissuade people from coming too close or climbing on their tanks.”


The Guardian’s Jack Shenker reports

that there is still “intense fighting” near Tahrir Square. “I can see Molotov cocktails being thrown from different roofs… There are two battles going on, one on the ground and one in the air, on the rooftops… They are throwing petrol bombs down on the crowd,” he says.



Al-Jazeera journalist Evan Hill

tweets: “Protesters at museum now look like they outnumber the Mubarak supporters. They have formed a staggered wall of angled metal shields.”

2047US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Vice-President Omar Suleiman earlier. She urged the government to investigate the violence in central Cairo and to hold those responsible for it accountable, state department spokesman PJ Crowley tells reporters.

2039UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tells students at the University of Oxford that the “violent attacks against peaceful demonstrators are completely unacceptable”. He says the discontent in Egypt “calls for broad reforms… not repression”, and that there needs to be a peaceful transition with full respect for human rights.

2034French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has called for calm and restraint in Egypt. “The violence must be stopped, so that there are no deaths,” she told French TV. “Losing lives defending ideas is not worthy of humankind.” When asked if France wanted President Mubarak to step down immediately, she said: “It’s not for us to decide.”

2030CNN journalist Anderson Cooper has described how

he and his film crew were attacked while walking through a crowd of pro-government demonstrators in Cairo

earlier. “We were moving quickly and a bunch of guys who hit us were also on the move, a lot of it was sort of glancing blows,” he told the Reuters news agency. “There was some thought that maybe someone in the crowd recognised me, but I couldn’t know for sure,” he added. “I think anyone with a camera is under threat in that crowd.”

2027Human Rights Watch says it wants the Egyptian authorities to investigate claims by Palestinians who escaped the Abu Zaabal jail in Egypt last Friday that guards there killed some of the fleeing prisoners. It quotes Omar Shaath, who was held without charge for a year, as saying there were “quite a few dead and wounded” after snipers opened fire on the escapees. Another man says he saw 10 to 12 dead bodies.

2020More from Egyptian Vice-President Omar Suleiman: He is quoted by the official Mena news agency as saying “the participants in these demonstrations have conveyed their message, both those demanding reform and those who came out in support of President Hosni Mubarak”. He urges “all citizens to return to their homes and abide by the curfew to boost the authorities’ efforts in restoring calm and stability, and limit the damage and losses the demonstrations have caused Egypt since they erupted last week”.

2012CNN reports that there have been demonstrations by anti-government protesters and supporters of President Mubarak in Egypt’s second city of Alexandria. However, the rival groups have kept apart and not clashed, it says.

2007Egyptian Health Minister Ahmed Samih Farid tells the official Mena news agency that 611 people have been injured in Wednesday’s violence. Earlier, the health ministry announced that one person had been killed as a result of the clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators in Cairo.

1959Egypt’s Vice-President Omar Suleiman says the protests must end before any talks with the opposition can start, urging all demonstrators to go home.



Channel 4’s Jonathan Rugman

tweets: “They are still chanting ’the regime must come down’ in Tahrir Sq. Petrol bombs thrown from a roof.”

1951The BBC’s Jim Muir in Cairo says Tahrir Square looks quieter now, and is still in the hands of protesters.

1934More reaction from the US to the clashes in Cairo. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says: “If any of the violence is instigated by the government it should stop immediately.”

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**1924** Mona in Alexandria, Egypt, writes: "I believe that the demonstrators should go home while their cause is still legitimate. The have made their voices heard. I do not want President Mubarak to leave our country in an undignified manner. Egypt is not Tunisia. The people of Egypt are rational. We opt for a democratic process of arbitration over the next seven months."




Activist Ramy Raoof

tweets: “Heading back to Tahrir Square, Cairo, to deliver medical supplies to the injured people and join the demonstration.”


1918Hussam Elzeiny in Cairo writes: “With all of the chaos that is happening in Tahrir Square, what Egyptians really need is programmes, ideologies, new laws and action plans from all politicians who are planning to run in the next election. We should have a fair competition between all the political parties. The word ‘demonstration’ no longer applies to our situation, now we are facing a full-on revolution in Egypt.”

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1914An eyewitness of the clashes in Tahrir Square, who identified himself only as Motaz, tells the BBC he has seen a variety of injuries sustained by those in the square: “Mostly injuries on people’s heads, rock-throwing injuries. A few people seem to have received either heavy blows or rocks to their upper body or their arms, that is what we have seen so far. I have seen a few people being carried on stretchers.”

1904The BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes says: “Heliopolis is not like the rest of Cairo. It has grand houses and leafy boulevards. Here the police are still welcomed on the streets. This is the home of Egypt’s ruling elite - people like Dr Magid Boutros - a close adviser to Mr Mubarak. He says the president is now determined to stand and fight: ‘He’s an army man. Military commanders, if they abandon their posts, they are shot.’ Outside on the street I was confronted by members of Egypt’s ruling class - educated, articulate and angry. As we returned from Heliopolis our car was forced of the road by another group of angry men. They handed us over to the dreaded Mukhabarat - the secret police in their brown leather jackets. We were handcuffed and blindfolded and taken to an interrogation cell. Three hours later we were released onto a remote backstreet. The regime is hardening its attitude to the protestors and to the foreign media. Egypt’s ruling class is fighting back.”

1900A close adviser to President Hosni Mubarak has told the BBC that the president is determined to “tough it out”, and will not give in to demands that he step down immediately. He was speaking to our correspondent, Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, who went to the wealthy Cairo suburb of Heliopolis to meet him - and was then detained by Egypt’s secret police.

1855US President Barack Obama discussed Egypt’s crisis with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Reuters is quoting White House spokesman Robert Gibbs as saying.

1854The Egyptian Commission on Human Rights has been meeting to discuss the situation in Cairo. Its president, former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali, has told the BBC that it wants an investigation into the deaths of anti-government protesters. “We are asking that an inquiry must be done and must be clearly done to know what was behind this crisis, what happened.”

1850The White House Correspondents’ Association has criticised US President Barack Obama for providing too little information and access to the media during the crisis in Egypt. “Prior to the president’s statement Tuesday night, the press corps had not received a substantive update from the White House all day on the situation in Egypt,” a letter says. “In addition, the press corps did not have an on-camera briefing, or an off-camera gaggle, with you yesterday to ask the White House about its decision-making process during this major foreign policy crisis.”


monasosh in Cairo

tweets: “The doctor here confirms that 3 at least are dead #Jan25”



Journalist Ethar El-Katatney in Cairo

tweets: “Doctor in Demerdash updates: burns from molotov cocktails sulfuric acid (mayet nar), wounds from sharp blunt objects, many concussions”


1831Mr Gibbs adds: “We’re planning for a full range of scenarios. I think it would have been hard to imagine even several days ago the events that happened yesterday. We’re watching those events. We’re planning for further events.”

1825Asked at a news conference if President Obama considers Mr Mubarak a dictator, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says: “The administration believes that President Mubarak has a chance to show the world exactly who he is by beginning the transition that is so desperately needed by his country.”


CNN’s Ben Wedeman in Cairo

tweets: “State TV showing urgent banner warning everyone in Tahrir square to evacuate immediately. (or else?)”


1816A senior US official tells the Reuters news agency that the violence on the streets of Cairo has triggered a debate within President Mubarak’s inner circle about whether he needs to do more to meet the demands of the protesters.

1811BBC world affairs editor John Simpson, in Cairo, says: “Within the last half hour, the heavy battle outside the Egyptian museum between pro- and anti-government demonstrators has ended. Rather unexpectedly, the confrontation seems to have been won by the pro-democracy protesters. All through the day they have been under attack by supporters of President Mubarak, and this represents an important turnaround in the situation. The opposition has now regained control of Tahrir Square, the centre of the last nine days of protests.”

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**1802**Mona in Alexandria writes: "I believe that the demonstrators should go home while their cause is still legitimate. They have made their voices heard. I do not want President Mubarak to leave our country in an undignified manner. Egypt is not Tunisia. The people of Egypt are rational. We opt for a democratic process of arbitration over the next seven months."



1800BBC World Service’s

World Have Your Say

presenter Ros Atkins says most of the people calling the programme from Cairo are angry at the government and blame the president for what is happening. But people outside the capital are saying the president’s offer to stand down in September is reasonable, he adds.



Al-Jazeera journalist Gregg Carlstrom

tweets: “Ambulances haven’t been able to reach the wounded in Tahrir Square, and there are surely hundreds of people with serious injuries.”

1755US state department spokesman PJ Crowley says in a statement: “After days of peaceful protests in Cairo and other cities in Egypt, today we see violent attacks on peaceful demonstrators and journalists. The United States denounces these attacks and calls on all engaged in demonstrations currently taking place in Egypt to do so peacefully. These attacks are not only dangerous to Egypt; they are a direct threat to the aspirations of the Egyptian people. The use of violence to intimidate the Egyptian people must stop. We strongly call for restraint.”

1753Al-Jazeera reports that the army is trying to enforce the overnight curfew in Tahrir Square, telling people to go inside and take cover.

1751The BBC’s Magdi Abdelhadi in Cairo says: “The Mubarak supporters are perfectly entitled to demonstrate, but the authorities should have channelled them in a different direction, away from Tahrir Square. But they didn’t. Why? There is a suspicion that some people within the regime want to create a chaos scenario to frighten Egyptians away from campaigning for an open society in which there would be protests and dissent. It is a very dangerous game to play.”

1747Egypt’s Health Minister, Ahmed Hosni, says one person has been killed and 403 people have been wounded so far in Wednesday’s violence, according to the Reuters news agency. Earlier, a health ministry spokesman told state TV that the dead man was a “conscript”.

1746Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki defends the conduct of soldiers in Cairo, telling the BBC: “I think you have seen an unparalleled degree of high professionalism and of high morals from our armed forces vis-a-vis our protesters. This is not Tiananmen Square. It will not become Tiananmen Square. Tahrir Square will remain a clean symbol for our political development.”

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**1743**Mayar Gueissa in Cairo writes: "The so-called new Egyptian government has shown its true colours after three days! By sending thugs as pro-Mubarak protesters to beat and terrorize the ant-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir square. I was there and saw it with my own eyes. How can we trust this man to hand over the country peacefully and establish democracy after 30 years of dictatorship and corruption?"



1740Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki defends the conduct of soldiers in Cairo, telling the BBC: “I think you have seen an unparalleled degree of high professionalism and of high morals from our armed forces vis-a-vis our protesters. This is not Tiananmen Square. It will not become Tiananmen Square. Tahrir Square will remain a clean symbol for our political development.”

1733An Egyptian health ministry spokesman tells state TV that a member of the security forces has been killed and 350 people have been injured so far in the clashes in central Cairo, according to the Reuters news agency. It says the dead man was a “conscript”, which means he was either a policeman or a soldier.

1729More criticism of US President Barack Obama, this time from

John R Guardiano in the American Spectator:

“Obama’s strength has also been his profound weakness vis-a-vis Egypt. He has been cautious to a fault. Consequently, he and his administration have consistently been behind the curve, surprised by events, and caught flatfooted by the trajectory of history.”

1724The BBC’s Paul Danahar in Cairo says: “Much of the fighting is now going on outside Tahrir square. Molotov cocktails and broken paving stones are being thrown.”

1722The BBC’s Wyre Davies in Alexandria says: “The curfew is being very strictly enforced in Egypt’s second city. But after thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in the main square on Tuesday, it still has the feel of a city where most want the president to step down immediately. Perhaps emboldened by the scenes in Tahrir Square, small groups of pro-government demonstrators have been out on the streets, interestingly supported by police vehicles. The Mubarak supporters even stuck their heads above the parapet in the main square.”

1714Wael Nawara, secretary-general of opposition Ghad party, tells the BBC: “Whatever sympathy [President Mubarak] had from us yesterday, I think this sympathy has totally dried up. We have 500 injured in Tahrir Square just because he wants to stay in power for another few months. Why can’t he just step down now?”

1712The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm Mike Mullen, has expressed “confidence” that Egypt’s military can continue to provide security for the country, including the strategically important Suez Canal, according to the AFP news agency.



MirooMiroo from Cairo

tweets: “Whether you are pro or anti Mubarak, DON’T FALL INTO A CIVIL WAR. WALK AWAY FROM TAHRIR SQUARE!!



Ganzeer from Cairo

tweets: “Military Mubarak against people - Glorious Egyptian Military personnel have confiscated my camera deleted all images”

1706BBC world affairs editor John Simpson, in Tahrir Square, says: “The stand-off in Tahrir Square seems to be approaching a critical moment. Pro-Mubarak groups, determined and aggressive, have been pushing their way to the edges of Tahrir Square all afternoon. Soldiers, controlling the entrances to the square, have mostly stopped them going further in. But fights have been breaking out and large numbers of missiles - bricks, stones and bits of ironwork, have been flying through the air on both sides. There are too few soldiers here to keep any kind of order. The most they can do is prevent the big numbers of Mubarak loyalists from getting into the square, bottling them up into huge groups on the edges. The net effect of the arrival in force of groups of Mubarak supporters seems to have been to strengthen the resolve of the hard-line demonstrators to stay inside the square. The gradual drift away from the square seems to have stopped. For now, it is the only place where the demonstrators can feel more or less safe.”

1702Azza, one of the anti-government protesters in Tahrir Square, tells the BBC that she has seen many injured people. “Lots of people are covered in blood. Lots of people [have broken bones]. They are throwing lots of big, big, big stones.”



Lara Setrakian from ABC News

tweets: “This is a clear and brutal siege on what had been a peaceful protest. Sirens in the background, helicopters overhead.”

1658Veteran left-wing academic Naom Chomsky

tells Democracy Now

that it is the “most remarkable regional uprising” he can remember, adding: “The US has an overwhelmingly powerful role there. Egypt is the second largest recipient of US military and economic aid. Obama himself has been highly supportive of Mubarak… This is one of the most brutal dictators of the region.”

1656The BBC’s Magdi Abdelhadi in Cairo says: “It is virtually impossible to know the extent of support for Mr Mubarak in Egyptian society. Throughout his long time in office there have never been free and fair elections by international standards and opinion polls designed to measure the president’s popularity are banned. This leaves most people with guesstimates. There is no doubt, however, that there is a genuine Mubarak constituency - those who stand to lose influence or money. What complicates the picture further is that there is a tradition of paying the poor and the not so politically aware to come out and demonstrate or vote. There is also what you may call the emotional constituency - equally difficult to quantify. In a conservative patriarchal culture like Egypt, there will be those who see Mr Mubarak as a father figure and will mourn his demise. One young man told me it was unacceptable to humiliate a man of his age, let alone the father of a nation.”

1653The Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, has also said that two of its reporters were attacked by an angry mob in a poor area of Cairo, and then detained by soldiers for several hours. One of them, Karin Oestman, said people had spat in their faces and accused them of being from Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, Mossad.



The BBC’s Tim Willcox

tweets: “Bursts of gunfire in Tahrir Sq. Reports that foreign media being attacked - including ‘vicious beating’ of one camerawoman.”

1644Belgium’s foreign minister demands the Egyptian authorities release Le Soir correspondent Serge Dumont, whom he says was beaten and then arrested.



CNN’s Ivan Watson in Cairo

tweets: “Nightfall. Bloody battle continues to rage here in Tahrir Square. We are trapped inside with the opposition, who say they’ll fight to death.”

1637The BBC’s Jonathan Marcus says: “One of the things the Americans have been doing over the years is to try to persuade President Mubarak to allow a genuine secular opposition. The Americans will now be very concerned at what comes out of this melting pot. Clearly it’s the Muslim Brotherhood that is in many ways the best organised opposition group.”

1635 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells his country’s parliament that the unrest in Egypt could destabilise the Middle East “for many years”, and spark a battle between democrats and radical Islamists. “There are two worlds, two halves, two views - that of the free world and that of the radical world,” he says. “Which one will prevail in Egypt? The answer is crucial to the future of Egypt, the future of the region, and for us here in Israel.”



NBC reporter Richard Engel

tweets: “Heard several sustained bursts of gunfire .. Lots of molotov at north end of tahrir "

1629Medical officials tell the AFP news agency that at least 500 people have been wounded in the clashes in central Cairo.

1626A CNN correspondent reports that the petrol bombs are being thrown by supporters of President Mubarak at the anti-government protesters.

1624Opposition protester Gigi Ibrahim tells the BBC she is trapped in Tahrir Square, and fears violence if she tries to leave: “The situation is escalating by the minute. If we want to get out we have to go through Mubarak supporters. I’m scared of going out because my face is now recognisable as an opposition protester.”

1621In an interview with BBC Arabic, Egypt’s new Finance Minister, Samir Radwan, calls for the opposition to accept the offer of dialogue with the government. “They are afraid to sit and talk because it will appear that they do not have an economics of foreign affairs programme,” he says. “But we must sit together in order to avoid any chaos.’’

1616Soldiers are using hoses to douse the flames caused by the petrol-bomb explosions, AFP reports.

1614CNN is broadcasting pictures of the stand-off near the back of the Egyptian Museum. There is a small fire in the street, and another in a building opposite. But there is no indication that there is a fire inside the world-famous institution, which was damaged by looters on Friday.

1610Two petrol bombs have landed inside the grounds of the Egyptian Museum, near where pro- and anti-government demonstrators have been involved in violent clashes, according to the AFP news agency.

1604Witnesses tell BBC Arabic that the camels and horses that charged anti-government demonstrators in Tahrir Square earlier belonged to people who work at the Pyramids in Giza. They were apparently angry that the unrest was driving away tourists from Cairo and hurting their businesses.



Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker, in Cairo,

tweets: “[Opposition Ghad party leader] Ayman Nour says he’s surrounded by govt thugs in Bab el-Louq, Cairo #Jan25 #Egypt”

1559Thousands of people have been joining a Facebook group called

Walk Away from Ta7rir Square

. The page was set up to encourage people to go home. But some of those who’ve joined have done so to debate, and posted messages against President Mubarak.

1555The White House says it “deplores and condemns the violence that is taking place in Egypt, and we are deeply concerned about attacks on the media and peaceful demonstrators”. It adds: “We repeat our strong call for restraint.”

1550From the BBC’s Paul Danahar: “There may now be more pro Mubarak supporters surrounding the square than anti-Mubarak supporters inside it. A number of foreign journalists have been roughed up by the crowds.”

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**1549** Azza Raslan in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia writes: "The Arab world watches in shock as the official state-sponsored television in Egypt exercise their monopoly over the air, and spout their poor, biased and shoddy covering of the events. We cannot believe how divorced they are from the pulse of the nation and how oblivious they are of the shameful way they appear. We are all ashamed of what is going on in Egypt."



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**1548** Nadine Khedr in Cairo writes: "What is going on is a conspiracy to divide the Egyptians. We need educated political thinkers from the youth to emerge and negotiate with the government in order to have rational talks. Our demands are very legitimate."



1542In his interview with al-Jazeera, Mohamed ElBaradei calls on the army to intervene “today”. He says: “I ask the army to intervene to protect Egyptian lives.”



US state department spokesman PJ Crowley

tweets: “We reiterate our call for all sides in #Egypt to show restraint and avoid violence. Egypt’s path to democratic change must be peaceful.”

1537Human rights activist Ammar Shaltout from “Put them on trial now” tells BBC World that pro-Mubarak protesters are carrying knives and guns. He accuses government of “state crimes” for releasing criminals from prison, and flying two F-16 jets low over civilian protesters in Tahrir Square. He says protesters want all faces from Mubarak regime to go and a technocratic government to be appointed.

1536Mubarak supporters are dropping concrete blocks on opposition protesters from roofs, AFP reports.

1534BBC world affairs editor John Simpson, in Tahrir Square, says: “I am among a group of Mubarak supporters. They have been preparing all sorts of weapons - pulling down iron railings, breaking up paving stones - and using them against anti-government protesters. There has been a kind of counter-attack by the pro-Mubarak groups, who are determined to force the remaining protesters out of the square. The soldiers are right here, sitting on their tanks, looking on and occasionally taking shelter, but are not trying to intervene. People know the army is not going to fire on either side, so their presence is not intimidating. The Mubarak supporters are forcing their way into the square through all the main entrances, and trying to force out the protesters gathered there.”

1524Ibrahim Zadran, co-ordinator of the opposition National Association for Change and an ally of Mohamed ElBaradei, tells the BBC: “We are asking the army to defend us. It’s their job to do that. Today, 15 people were shot in Tahrir Square by government supporters using live ammunition. We are a peaceful group looking for justice and democracy. Nothing else.”

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**1523** I R in Cairo writes: "I just came back from Tahrir Square, supporting Mubarak to continue his term. I am not an NDP member, never voted and never participated in a demonstration before last week. Ninety per cent of our demands have been met. Enough demonstrations. We need a smooth transition of power."



1521Mr ElBaradei had made the same appeal on Tuesday - but that was before President Mubarak promised not to run for another term.

1519Opposition figurehead Mohamed ElBaradei calls once more for President Mubarak to step aside by Friday - when what the opposition is planning what it calls the “Friday of Departure”. He was speaking to al-Jazeera.

1516The BBC’s Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi: “Unless the Egyptian state starts to act and shoulder its responsibility to bring order to the streets of Egyptian cities, then one fears there will be more polarisation, more violence, and sadly, more bloodshed.”



Menna Saeed in Cairo

tweets: “Thanks protesters for what you’ve done for Egypt. Now it’s time to think of change implementation. So let’s all go home and think forward”.



Ashraf Khalil, a freelance journalist in Cairo

tweets: “Soldiers literally just watching this, but protest organisers trying to control crowd’s animosity toward the army. One guy grabbed the microphone with a message to the army, “Make a decision now” and defend the Tahrir protesters. But others grabbed the microphone away saying, “We don’t want to turn the people against the army.”

1508And this from British leader David Cameron: “We have been watching the events in Cairo with grave concern and completely condemn the violence is taking place. If it turns out that the regime is in any way has been sponsoring or tolerating this violence, that would be completely and utterly unacceptable. These are despicable scenes that we are seeing and they should not be repeated. They underline the need for political reform.”

1507More from Ban Ki-moon: “The United Nations stands ready to provide any assistance to such reform efforts by Egypt and any other Arab countries that reflect the will of the people. They should listen more attentively to the genuine and sincere wishes of the people.”



US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley

tweets: “We are concerned about detentions and attacks on news media in Egypt. The civil society that Egypt wants to build includes a free press.”



New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof

tweets: “In my part of Tahrir, pro-Mubarak mobs arrived in buses, armed with machetes, straight-razors and clubs, very menacing.”

1500Ban Ki-moon: “For the last decade, the United Nations has been warning of the need for change. It is important at this juncture to ensure an orderly and peaceful transition takes place. I urge all parties to engage in such dialogue and such process without any further delay. We should not underestimate the danger of instability across the Middle East.”

1458UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “I am deeply concerned at the continuing violence in Egypt and once again urge restraint to all sides. This is very much an unacceptable situation. Any attacks on peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable and I strongly condemn it.”

1456The BBC’s Wyre Davies in Alexandria says pro-Mubarak supporters have come out on to the streets, emboldened by events elsewhere. The atmosphere is tense and many people are angry at the anti-government protesters - they can’t get money out of banks and they can’t get to to work.



Yasser Ahmad in Egypt

tweets: “Things are simply out of control and who knows how much time it will take.”

1447More from Jim Muir: He says he saw several people with head wounds, and he was told that some 40 people had been injured in the last two hours. An impromptu hospital has been set up in Tahrir Square to treat the wounded.

1446 The BBC’s Jim Muir in Cairo says: “I’ve just come back from Tahrir square and the atmosphere has changed completely from what it was like over the past few days. Near the national museum, there is a sort of front line that has been established between the protesters and supporters of President Mubarak. A lot of rocks are being thrown. I saw people breaking up the pavements so they could have sharp bits of stone to throw. In the last few minutes, there have been some shots ringing out, though it is not clear where they are coming from. The army is not trying to intervene. Its troops are not trained in how to deal with riots, and I do not know how the situation will be defused.”


**1444**The BBC's

Kim Ghattas

tweets: US official tells me “really worried” about clashes in Cairo but Washington still in contact with #Egypt army #jan25

1440From the BBC’s Paul Danahar: “Pro-Mubarak protestors are blocking some entrances into Tahrir square. Despite gun fire and chaos the army are not intervening and are staying in their tanks.”



CNN Live

tweets: “CNN’s Anderson Cooper describes how he and his crew were attacked amid clashes in Tahrir Square. Video: #egypt”

1435The BBC’s Jim Muir says the atmosphere in Tahrir Square extremely tense and there’s no indication of how the situation can be defused. Anti-Mubarak protesters are accusing the president’s allies of using dirty tricks to sow chaos.

1432Egyptian state-owned Channel One TV cites a security source as saying that no gun shots have been fired in Tahrir Square, as reported by al-Jazeera.

1430A journalist in Tahrir Square tells al-Jazeera that one of the pro-government demonstrators has been killed. Hundreds of people have also been wounded, the journalist says.

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**1426**Ola in Egypt writes: "Not only will Mubarak and the Egyptian military be blamed for any bloodshed that happens today, but also the western governments - Obama, the UK and the EU for sitting back and watching. For encouraging him to buy time while watching him use very low tactics."** **



1422More from the BBC’s Ian Pannell - he says he saw one person who appeared to be thrown from a tank then attacked by the crowd.

1419People are using loudspeakers to appeal for calm in Tahrir Square. The army also appears to have parked several lorries across one road near the Egyptian Museum to separate the pro- and anti-government demonstrators. They are still, however, throwing stones at each other. Soldiers have their weapons drawn and one is reportedly firing into the air. The BBC’s Ian Pannell says the situation is still very volatile and very dangerous.

1418US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells diplomats in Washington that they are “all in uncharted territory”, according to the Associated Press. The rapidly changing situations in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia require US officials to be “more nimble and innovative and more accountable than ever before”, Mrs Clinton adds.

1416AFP quotes Egyptian foreign affairs spokesman Hossam Zaki as saying Egypt rejects any international demands for an immediate transfer of power.

1414Anti-government protester Tamier Abbas insists on BBC World that the authorities have been paying people to come to Tahrir Square - something pro-Mubarak protesters have denied.



Gulf News reporter Abbas Al Lawati

tweets: “Just saw a foreign journalist being chased by a mob with weapons. He was alone. They got him. God help him.”

1402The BBC website has a

new gallery of the latest images from Egypt.

1359The Muslim Brotherhoood says there is “no alternative” to ending Hosni Mubarak’s regime, AFP reports. “The people reject all partial measures proposed by the head of the regime,” the movement says.

1355Egypt’s interior ministry has denied that plainclothes security personnel are among the pro-government demonstrators in Tahrir Square, state television says. There have been reports of police ID cards being taken from some of those involved in the clashes.



CNN journalist Anna Stewart

tweets: “Anderson Cooper and his crew were attacked by protesters in Tahrir Square #Cairo.”

1350Three Israeli journalists covering the events in Egypt have been arrested, Israeli officials tell the BBC. They were accused of working in the country while only having tourist visas. An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said Israel was aware of the arrests and had contacted the Egyptian authorities to request their release.

1347The AFP news agency reports that at least 10 people were injured in the initial confrontation in Tahrir Square. Later, when pro-government demonstrators charged on horses on camels, at least six were dragged from their animals and beaten, it says.


Arwa Mahmoud in Tahrir Square

tweets: “The army has unblocked one of the entrances to #tahrir and pro-regime protesters entered. Some with knives. Scores of injured #tahrir protesters carried back into the square.”


1346Main opposition movement Muslim Brotherhood reject Mr Mubarak’s attempt to stay on until the end of his term, according to a statement quoted by AFP.



Nadia El-Awady in Tahrir Square

tweets: “Young teenager just emerged seriously injured. Anti-mubaraks marching toward pro-mubaraks. Injured keep emerging from front.”



BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones

tweets: “Egypt internet traffic nearly back to normal, says Arbor Networks.”

1336EU foreign policy chief Baroness Ashton is the latest politician to follow Mr Obama’s lead, as she calls for Mr Mubarak to act “as quickly as possible” on a transition.

1335ElBaradei adds that he has “no interest in holding any position” in any new government, saying: “What I am here for as an Egyptian is to make sure… that Egypt is turned from an oppressive, authoritarian regime into a democracy. That is my first priority. However, if people want me to do whatever I can, I will not let them down.”

1333The BBC’s Humphrey Hawksley says President Obama had a 30-minute conversation with Mr Mubarak on Tuesday, but it clearly didn’t work. World leaders have now got to balance the pride of President Mubarak with what is happening on the ground.

1329More from Mohamed ElBaradei: he tells the BBC he fears the clashes in Tahrir Square “will turn into a bloodbath” and calls the pro-Mubarak demonstrators a “bunch of thugs”.

1327Al-Jazeera TV says its reporters have been shown police ID cards taken from some of the pro-government demonstrators involved in the clashes in Tahrir Square.

1326The BBC’s John Simpson explains the predicament of the army: “It’s very difficult for individual soldiers surrounded by thousands of people simply to obey any orders they may have received. It’s really down to the individual soldiers simply to try to keep people quiet as best as they can.”

1320Opposition figurehead Mohamed ElBaradei tells the BBC he is extremely concerned about the Tahrir Square clashes, and accuses the government of using “scare tactics”.

1319The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen says sources told him that the ruling party had a meeting on Tuesday, and they decided to get their people back out on the streets.




tweets: “More and more pro-Mubarak ppl are heading to Tahrir. Why did the army let them in?”

1314The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen in Cairo says: “There’s a lot of violence. People are badly bloodied. They are saying they’ve been taken prisoner. I’ve seen people with some real nasty wounds. It’s an ugly ugly atmosphere. The army are standing by watching.”

1312Reuters reports that the men on horses and camels are Mubarak supporters who charged on opposition protesters, wielding sticks and whips.

1309Men on horses and camels have entered Tahrir Square in Cairo, as clashes again break out in Tahrir Square.

1302Latest pictures from Tahrir Square appear to show violence has now subsided.

1300Egyptian journalist Nadia el-Awaddy, at Tahrir Square, tells the BBC that tear gas was used during clashes between rival sets of protesters.

1258The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner says: “A few days ago it looked like Hosni Mubarak was going to be the next Arab leader driven out of office. This no longer looks to be the case. This is going to be taken in by other Arab leaders, who are recalibrating their responses. So this is not quite the spectacular revolution the protesters were hoping for.”

1257British officials say nationals wanting to leave Egypt will have to pay £300 for a seat on one of the charter flights laid on by the government.

1251Dubai’s al-Arabiya TV says pro-Mubarak protesters have assaulted one of their reporting crews and destroyed their equipment.

1249Reuters says the protesters involved in clashes in Tahrir Square were using stones and sticks, and about 10 people at the scene were wounded.

1236More from the BBC’s Jim Muir: “It’s not clear how much violence is happening, but projectiles have been thrown. There is a huge potential for conflict. The army had previously succeeded in keeping Mubarak supporters away from the square, but the army lines appear to have been breeched.”

1235The BBC’s Jim Muir in Tahrir Square confirms that clashes are going on between opposition protesters and pro-Mubarak groups.

1231Al-Jazeera TV broadcasts pictures of running battles in Tahrir Square, backing up earlier AFP report (see 1227).

1230A Mubarak supporter tell state-run Nile TV why she has joined a rally in support of the president: “Please forgive me Mr President, I cried when I heard your speech. May God forgive them, We love you Mr President.”

1227Opposition protesters tell AFP news agency that undercover police have stormed their protest in Tahrir Square.

1225Egypt Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki defends Mr Mubarak’s decision to hold on to power until September, telling the BBC: “There is a keenness to avoid any constitutional anarchy if any president leaves office before the end of his mandate. He has to fulfil his mandate and follow the constitutional process.”

1221The BBC’s Lina Sinjab reports from Yemen that the opposition there do not appear satisfied with President Saleh’s announcement that he won’t run again in 2013. They want to see concrete reforms delivered on the ground, she says.

1218Catching up with some more international reaction to President Mubarak’s announcement that he’ll only step down after elections in September. British Prime Minister David Cameron says transition must be “rapid and credible and needs to start now”. Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also called for a rapid transition, welcoming the opening to a “new political beginning”.



Nadia El-Awady in Tahrir Square

tweets: “Tahrir square getting tense as pro-mubarak supporters infiltrate the square. My video camera was just destroyed by a man while I was filming pro-mubarak infiltration.”

1205More from Ian Pannell at Tahrir Square: “Pro-and anti-Mubarak supporters standing face-to-face, chanting slogans against each other.”

1203From the BBC’s Ian Pannell in Cairo: “We’ve just heard that thousands of supporters of President Mubarak have started surging into Tahrir Square in Cairo, dismantling barricades set up by anti-Mubarak protesters. Arguments and fist fights have broken out, and the situation is very tense.”

1156The Associated Press reports pro-and anti-Mubarak groups clashing in Tahrir Square, hitting each other with sticks. Some were injured with their heads bleeding, the report says.

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**1152**Amir Bakhoum, from Cairo, writes: "The army should step forward to rule temporarily until the elections, restoration of democracy and civilian government."

1149One of the BBC’s Arabic TV reporters says pro-Mubarak protestors have tried to march into Tahrir Square but the army forces stopped them. The anti-Mubarak protestors put barricades in the four major access points to the square and started searching the people for weapons and IDs.

1142The BBC’s Paul Danahar in Cairo: “Full internet access has returned to Cairo including access to social media sites like Facebook.”



Al Jazeera’s Dan Nolan in Cairo

tweets: “So the internet is back on in #egypt but my nokia from 1995 doesn’t have 3g funnily enough and soldiers have my iphone so it’s still sms for me”.

1139The BBC’s Magdi Abdelhadi reports from Cairo that the next battle will dismantling the regime, and this will prove easier said than done. Those with vested interests will defend themselves. Where the army stands in all this is crucial.

1134From the BBC’s Mark Georgiou in Cairo: “Massive pro-Mubarak demo in Cairo. People very, very worked up, time and again we were told foreign media is not being fair and the people say that, now the president is not standing for election, it’s time to restore order. Lots of anti-ElBaradei feeling. It’s not as simple as just the people in Tahrir Square.

1130The protesters, who represent a broad section of Egyptian society, would of course disagree with Mr Abdellah - as would the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition movement. Many observers have pointed out that the protests in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond could be a hugely positive development for the Arab world, leading to greater freedom and democracy.

1127Mr Abdellah also had this stark warning for the West: “You in the West will be the first to pay the price if Egypt falls into the hands of Islamic extremists - you will pay the price! You will be the first to pay the price! Peace and stability in the Middle East will blow up!”

1126Mohamed Abdellah, former head of the Egyptian parliament’s foreign affairs committee and now president of Alexandria University, has given the BBC World Service this stinging attack on anti-Mubarak protesters. “Those people wanted to go to Luxor and to go to the Cairo museum and destroy it. Do you believe that they are peaceful protesters? When you go into hospitals, to destroy hospitals; those are looters!”

1119Egyptian political analyst Mamoun Fandy tells BBC News Channel that the army is protecting both the protesters and President Mubarak’s regime. It has called on people to go home, but is not ordering them to do so. At the same time, the army doesn’t want to break the backbone of the Egyptian state by having even bigger protests, like the one called for Friday.

1114 Wyre Davies also reports that there are long queues at banks in Alexandria as people try to withdraw money, as well as huge lines for petrol and basic goods.

1109 In Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, the BBC’s Wyre Davies reports that tension is rising. Some pro-Mubarak demonstrators are on the streets, with many thinking the president has now done enough to satisfy the protesters. They have been out in small groups shouting that enough damage has been done to Egypt’s reputation, and that anti-government protesters should go home.

1057A fuller quote from that army statement earlier: “We have to look forward to the future. We have to think about our country, Egypt. The army and the people overcame defeat in October 1973, the army and the people can change the current situation through chivalry, determination and courage. You message was delivered. Your demands are now known, and we are vigilant to keep the country secure for your sake, honourable Egyptians. We have to heed our country’s call through hard and fruitful work. We have to deny the haters the sight of us in the midst of crises.”



Tarek Shalaby, in Cairo

tweets: “Internet’s back in #Egypt. I’ve been camping out in Tahrir for four days and will remain until #Mubarak leaves.”

1047Lots more messages saying internet access is coming back - though some say social media sites are still blocked. As part of their response to recent demonstrations, Egyptian authorities closed down internet access last week.

1040Egypt’s parliament speaker says the constitutional reforms promised by President Hosni Mubarak will be completed in less than two-and-a-half months, Reuters reports.

1030Egypt’s parliament will be suspended until revised results of the last elections are published, AFP reports.

1026More on evacuations: Qantas will provide free flights home for Australians in Egypt. The federal government has chartered two planes to fly about 600 people to Frankfurt or London. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce says the airline will then provide Australians with free flights from Europe.

1023The BBC’s Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur says Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has ordered the evacuation of Malaysian students from Egypt. Three military aircraft will take off today to fly students to Saudi Arabia. There are about 11,000 Malaysian students registered with the Malaysian Embassy in Egypt.

1020The night time curfew in Egypt has been eased. It will now run from 5pm to 7am instead of 3pm to 8am.

1016There are reports today that internet access in Egypt has been at least partially restored.

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**1010**Y Sanad, from Cairo, writes: "What has happened is for the best. At least now we are offered a constitutional reform as well as enough time to breathe and think calmly of the steps yet to come. We have time to make a fair choice about who comes next. If President Mubarak left immediately, we might lose focus because we will be urged to make an immediate decision."



Sarah El Sirgany

tweets: “Just saw a truck full of pro-Mubarak demonstrators heading downtown, something we only see during the rigging of elections. #jan25”

1005The BBC’s Paul Danahar reports from Cairo: “The carnival-like scenes throughout the city yesterday have been replaced with a much more tense atmosphere today, as pro-Mubarak protestors hold small rallies.”

0958Food analyst Vincent Truglia has told BBC World Service he believes food shortages have been playing a significant role in Egypt’s unrest. “I believe that food and anxiety about food has been the key problem that has been facing Egypt. Food prices, specifically wheat in particular, which is the staple of the Egyptian diet, have gone up, depending on the measure, between 50 and 70% in 2010. This has just devastated Egyptian budgets.”

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**0956**Mohammed Jama, from Alexandria, writes: "We are caught between a rock and a hard place. Although many of my people want Mubarak to go now, a part of me worries about the power vacuum and the transition into a functioning government. How will it happen? Deep down we want normality to return, suffering to end and with a new beginning, a life without Mubarak and the ruling elite."

0955The BBC’s Jon Leyne reports from Cairo that there’s are thousands of pro-Mubarak supporters in the Mohandiseen district. They say they represent the real Egypt and have not been paid to be there.

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**0953**El-Moharmedy, from Cairo, writes: "Mubarak should step down. Egypt is not meant for him alone. We don't need him anymore. We need to conduct a free and fair election for a better tomorrow."

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**0950**Amany Hassan, from Alexandria, writes: "Those who want Mubarak to leave right now only want chaos and disorder. Things need to take time or control will be lost from everyone's hands. Finishing his time as president is the only way for change to be legal and safe."

0949The BBC’s Mark Georgiou reports from Cairo: “A small pro-Mubarak demonstration taking place at edge of Tahrir Square. Much bigger one across town. Some people say the president’s promise not to stand in the elections is enough - others want him to leave right now.

0947Egyptian army spokesman to demonstrators: “The army forces are calling on you… You began by going out to express your demands and you are the ones capable of restoring normal life.”

0943Egypt’s army calls for resumption of normal life in Cairo. More details to follow.

0939The army has played a key role in the crisis, promising not to use violence against protesters. Many have greeted soldiers patrolling the streets, in stark contrast to the anger directed against the police.

0936Reuters reports that the Egyptian army is to make a statement shortly.

comment from blogger

**0934**For those wishing to dig a bit more on the US administration's shifting position, the BBC website has

a blog from our North America editor, Mark Mardell

“Mr Obama sounded as if he wanted to join the Egyptians on the streets,” he writes.

0929Sounds like French President Nicolas Sarkozy is taking a similar line to his American counterpart Barack Obama. Mr Sarkozy has called for a transition in Egypt “without delay”, AFP reports.

0927Egypt’s stock exchange is to stay shut for a fifth working day, Reuters reports.

0921BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson says that if President Mubarak had made his offer just a few days ago, the reaction might have been rather different, but after shootings last friday the mood is much fiercer. People are saying that if a week of demonstrations has pushed the president this far then there’s every incentive to keep up the pressure on him.

0918More from Wyre Davies in Alexandria: He notes that the longer the crisis continues the tougher it gets for Egyptians economically - this morning he saw a queue of nervous people waiting to pick up their pensions, which are worth about $20.

0912The BBC’s Wyre Davies reports that the situation in Alexandria is incredibly tense, with some pro-Mubarak protesters coming out. They are smaller in number than anti-Mubarak protesters, he says, but they are increasingly vocal.

0909The BBC website has some analysis from Roger Hardy of the Woodrow Wilson Center on

the precarious predicament of Arab leaders

which points out that anger in the region is directed not only at leaders but at the West.

0853Some quick reaction from Yemen reported by Reuters: The opposition Islah party says President Saleh’s promise to not stand again in 2013 is positive - but a rally due on Thursday will go ahead as planned.

0845An interesting point from Patrick Seale, author of The Struggle for Arab Independence, on the underlying causes of unrest in Egypt. Speaking on the BBC World Service, he points to demographic trends that have seen the country’s population growing rapidly to 84 million - all crammed into about 3% of Egypt’s land area.

0840The BBC’s Jim Muir notes that there was some ambiguity in Barack Obama’s statement last night. He said a transition had to start now, not specifically that Mr Mubarak had to stand down immediately.

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**0832**Musa, from Cairo, writes: "I don't want Mubarak to leave the country but he must leave office now. We won't tolerate this until September, no way."

0830There have also been big protests over recent days in Egypt’s second city - the port of Alexandria. The BBC’s Wyre Davies reports from Alexandria that many of the young protesters there were adamant that they would not accept Mr Mubarak staying on until September.



Dutch journalist Alexander Weissink, or FDEgypt

tweets from Cairo: “People on the streets and in teahouses of Cairo disagree on what to think of Mubarak’s promise. Some accept it, others don’t. #Egypt #Jan25”

0821More from the BBC’s Jim Muir in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. He says there are tents springing up there, suggesting that those demonstrators who’ve stayed out are settling in for the duration.

0818The BBC’s Matthew Price in Jordan says there are more demonstrations expected there this afternoon, but the protests so far have not been on anything like the scale of those in Egypt. Even Islamists in opposition in Jordan are not calling on their king to go. The relationship between Jordanians and their king is very different to that between Egyptians and their president, our correspondent says.

0811Alon Liel, former director general of Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs, tells BBC World that it’s a shock for his country to see President Mubarak under continuing pressure to leave office - but Israel will have to get used to the prospect of Mr Mubarak’s departure and adapt to it.




tweets: “The People of Egypt not likely to accept Mubarak’s final cling to power. Hope he wouldn’t resort to terror to hold on. #Egypt #Jan25”




tweets: “#Mubarak to step down in Sept! Talk about hanging on by their finger nails!”

0758President Saleh’s term ends in 2013, so he has a bit more time to ease himself out of office than President Mubarak. Mr Saleh came to power in 1978, first as president of North Yemen and then, after unification with South Yemen in 1990, as leader of the newly united republic. He’d already signalled in recent months that he might not stand again.

0752Yemen is one of the countries that have seen demonstrations inspired by the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia, which put an abrupt end to the rule of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last month. Jordan and Algeria have also seen protests.

0748Reuters are reporting that President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen says he won’t seek to extend his presidential term or pass power to his son.



Narine in Kuwait

tweets: “The perseverance of the #Egyptians to get their freedom fully without any compromise is truly inspiring for any nation #Jan25 #Egypt.”

0741Not all the demonstrators may have been appeased, but the secretary-general of the Egyptian-British chamber of commerce, Taher El Sherif, says President Mubarak is right to stay on. “Really, I agree with President Mubarak that he should hand over the authority to his successors safely and in a more civilised way,” he tells the BBC.

0736But Jim Muir also reports that there were some quieter voices among those in Tahrir Square last night who were saying that this is the time to step back, accept Mr Mubarak’s concessions, and allow for a smooth transition.

0733The BBC’s Jim Muir in Cairo says up to 2,000 protesters spent the night in Tahrir Square - the epicentre of the protests. Among this hardcore of demonstrators prepared to brave the night time cold, there was a very strong view that President Mubarak had not gone far enough. They want to see him deposed and punished.

0728And US President Obama responded to Mr Mubarak’s speech by saying that any orderly transition must be meaningful, peaceful - and begin now.

0727Let’s remember that before the President Mubarak made his speech last night, the man who has emerged as Egypt’s main opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei, demanded that Mr Mubarak step down by Friday at the latest.

0725The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says President Mubarak is gambling that enough ordinary Egyptians will accept his decision to stay on until the autumn elections. Mr Mubarak is said to have told a friend that he has a PhD in obstinacy, he says. But our correspondent adds that we should never underestimate the anger and impatience that has built up during the recent demonstrations.

0720Welcome to the BBC’s live coverage of unrest on Egypt, where President Hosni Mubarak has announced he won’t stand in elections in September. The pledge followed unprecedented mass demonstrations against his 30-year rule. Stay with us for the latest updates, incorporating reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis, and your reaction from around the world, which you can send via email, text or twitter. We’ll publish what we can.

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