Egypt Death Toll Passes 100 As Protests Continue

Egypt Death Toll Passes 100 As Protests Continue

2011-01-30. Category & Tags: Others Others


CAIRO – Gangs of armed men attacked at least four jails across Egypt before dawn Sunday, helping to free hundreds of Muslim militants and thousands of other inmates as police vanished from the streets of Cairo and other cities.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo told its citizens in Egypt to consider leaving the country as soon as possible, and said it had authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees, a display of Washington’s escalating concern about the stability of its closest Arab ally. Al Jazeera was ordered to shut down in Cairo.

According to Reuters, more than 100 have died since the protests began.

The army sent hundreds more troops and armored vehicles onto the streets of Cairo and other cities but appeared to be taking little action against gangs of young men with guns and large sticks who were smashing cars and robbing people.

At least one Nile-side shopping mall in Cairo was on fire after being looted the previous day.

The Arab world’s most populous nation appeared to be swiftly moving closer to a point at which it either dissolves into widespread chaos or the military expands its presence and control of the streets.

A broader and tougher military role could be welcomed by increasingly fearful Egyptians but would run a risk of appearing to place the army on the side of the regime and antagonizing protesters.

The demonstrators from all segments of Egyptian society have taken to the streets for nearly a week calling for President Hosni Mubarak, 82, to step down. Mubarak named his intelligence chief, former army general Omar Suleiman, to the new role of vice president on Saturday, a move that perpetuated the overriding role of military men in Egyptian politics.

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Scroll down for the latest updates.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> People's Popular Parliament</span>  

National columnist Sultan Al Qassemi is tweeting on the People’s Popular Parliament being formed in opposition to the Mubarak government.


@ SultanAlQassemi :
Ayman Nour “Today was the first session of the People’s Popular Parliament which includes El Baradei, Mohammed El Beltaji, myself..”

Bloomberg reported earlier today:

The group includes Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, along with a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s main opposition group, Nour said in a telephone interview today.
U.S. Embassy To Help Americans Leave Egypt

Flights will begin Monday for Americans in Cairo to “safehaven locations in Europe.” The AP reports:

(AP) Foreign governments stepped up their warnings about travel to Egypt, with several urging their nationals to evacuate as soon as possible, further fueling uncertainty over where the Arab nation is headed after nearly a week of mass protests.

The fears of foreign tourists mirrored those of many Egyptians. Dozens with the means to do so rented jets or hopped aboard their own planes in a mad dash that did little to boost confidence in the future of a country that, until a week ago, had been viewed as a pillar of stability in a restive region. Those leaving included businessmen and celebrities.

The American, Swiss, Turkish and Dutch governments issued advisories encouraging nationals already in the country to leave and telling those who planned trips to Egypt to reconsider. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo said it was making arrangements to transport Americans who want to leave to “safehaven locations in Europe.” Flights would begin on Monday.

You can read more about tourists trying to leave Egypt here.

Here’s a report on the situation from Reuters:

Reader Cyn T. relays this information from the State Department:

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo informs U.S. citizens in Egypt who wish to depart that the Department of State is making arrangements to provide transportation to safehaven locations in Europe. This assistance will be provided on a reimbursable basis, as required by U.S. law. U.S. citizens who travel on US government –arranged transport will be expected to make their own onward travel plans from the safehaven location. Flights to evacuation points will begin departing Egypt on Monday, January 31. Persons interested in departing Egypt via USG-chartered transportation should contact the US Department of State and Embassy Cairo by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling 1-202-501-4444. Please provide the following information:

Name, age, place of birth and U.S. passport number Any special medical need
White House Supports ‘Orderly Transition To A Government That Is Responsive’

From the White House:

The President has made a number of calls to foreign leaders to discuss the ongoing situation in Egypt. On Saturday, January 29th, the President spoke to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Today, he spoke to Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom. During his calls, the President reiterated his focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, association, and speech; and supporting an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people. The President asked each of the leaders that he spoke to for their assessment of the situation, and agreed to stay in close contact going forward.
State Sponsored Vandalism?

Egyptian paper Al Masry Al Youm has reported that witnesses are claiming looters and vandals were “sent by the Interior Ministry.” According to their report:

Thugs looting residential neighborhoods and intimidating civilians are government-hires, say eyewitnesses.

In Nasr City, an Eastern Cairo neighborhood, residents attempting to restore security told Al-Masry Al-Youm that looters were caught yesterday.

“They were sent by the government. The government got them out of prison and told them to rob us,” says Nameer Nashaat, a resident working alongside other youths to preserve order in the district. “When we caught them, they said that the Ministry of Interior has sent them.”

In Masr al-Qadeema, another district, scrap metal dealer Khaled Barouma, confirmed the same account. “The government let loose convicts. They let them out of prisons. We all know them in this neighborhood,” he said, adding that the neighborhood’s youth is trying to put the place in order by patrolling its streets with batons.

You can read the entire article here.

The New York Time’s Nick Kristoff has arrived in Egypt and has tweeted about the improvised roadblocks appearing across Egypt to combat the vandalism:


@ NickKristof :
My taxi was stopped every 100 yds by private roadblocks, w/ tense young men w/ bats machetes, looking for looters cops.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Egypt's Police To Return </span>  

Egypt’s police will be returning to the streets on Monday. Reports Reuters:

One of the sources said police would return to traffic, criminal and other work but would not be sent in to confront protesters, with whom they clashed often violently in the first days of the protests.

The police were pulled back after the military took control of security, a move that was embraced by the protestors.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Picture Of ElBaradei In Tahrir Square</span>  

The opposition leader with protestors, via Al Jazeera:

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Who Is Egypt's Real Friend</span>  

Egypt’s Foreign Minister has reportedly said that the protests show “who is a real friend of Egypt and who is not.” Reports Ria Novosti:

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday Cairo will maintain its current pro-Western foreign policy despite the widening political protest.
ElBaradei Speaks

Reuters reports:


Egypt’s #ElBaradei tells crowds in central Cairo “what we have begun cannot go back” #Egypt #news

Al Jazeera English quotes him as saying:

You have taken back your rights and what we have begun cannot go back…We have one main demand – the end of the regime and the beginning of a new stage, a new Egypt…I bow to the people of Egypt in respect. I ask of you patience, change is coming in the next few days…

On Al Jazeera English, Shadi Hamid is discussing ElBaradei’s willingness to govern with a coalition interim government.

Al Jazeera has audio reports from Tahrir Square here.

You can read more details about ElBaradei here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> ElBaradei Arrives in Tahrir Square</span>  

The Jerusalem Post reports that:

Al-Jazeera reported that opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei arrived at Cairo’s Tahir Square Sunday evening, as crowds swelled by the thousands over two hours into a government-imposed curfew.
Update On Suez From Human Rights Watch

Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch reports from Suez:

Just back from Suez where we met the director of the main hospital, who confirmed 17 dead so far. On Friday 12 dead, killed by gunfire, and 104 injured, three dead on Thursday and 2 more gunshot victims on Saturday. This is the largest medical facility in Suez City, one of two big public hospitals.

The atmosphere in Suez is tense, the big complaint is the absence of security. A lot of rubble in the streets from stone-throwing, street battles etc. The army is out in force, tanks are stationed on the streets and the area around the main government buildings is completely blocked off. A major police station that on Thursday was surrounded by security and said to be holding many detainees picked up at protests was torched and is now gutted.

Police and government officials have pulled out so there are no government services - the governor’s been gone since Tuesday so there’s a power vacuum. People formed impromptu block committees to provide local security, armed (they say) with only sticks and kitchen knives. The locals say the only people with weapons are police who’ve taken off their uniforms and are responsible for most of the looting and crime.
ElBaradei Arriving in Tahir Square

ElBaradei is heading to Tahrir Square in Cairo. Reuters reports:

Egyptian opposition leader Mohammed Elbaradei joined protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir square on Saturday, hub of anti-Mubarak protest, Reuters witness.

You can listen to the Guardian’s Jake Shenkers’ audio report here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> ElBaradei On The Army</span>  

Al Arabiya reports, via @SultanAlQassemi:


@ SultanAlQassemi :
Al Arabiya: El Baradei “I look forward to establishing contact wit the army. Also, it reports that @ElBaradei has arrived in Meydan Tahrir

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> More From Clinton</span>  

More on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Sunday show appearances:

The U.S. expects that the protests in Egypt will lead to free and fair elections as part of an “orderly” transition to “real democracy,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday as the Obama administration worked to get a handle on the fast-moving upheaval shaking the American ally.

“I want the Egyptian people to have a chance to chart a new future,” said Clinton, who addressed the volatile situation in back-to-back interviews on the five morning shows before leaving on a trip to Haiti.

Asked if she thought longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had taken the necessary steps so far to hold on, Clinton said, “It’s not a question of who retains power. . It’s how are we going to respond to the legitimate needs and grievances expressed by the Egyptian people and chart a new path. Clearly, the path that has been followed has not been one that has created that democratic future, that economic opportunity that people in the peaceful protests are seeking.”

Mubarak appointed a vice president on Saturday for the first time in more than 30 years – the U.S. long has pressed for that and Clinton called it the “bare beginning of what needs to happen” – and has pledged to make reforms.

See the rest here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 'We Will Not Leave Until He Leaves'</span>  

Heba Morayef at Human Rights Watch writes:

At least 20,000 protesters in Tahrir square now, it’s absolutlely packed. Two fighter jets have been flying overhead for the last 10 minutes - people are cheering the flyovers. They’re chanting “we will not leave until he leaves” and “long live the crescent together with the cross.” There are judges, independent journalists, the Muslim Brotherhood, the National Association for Change, April 6th movement - all standing together and leading the chants.
Clinton On Egypt

Hillary Clinton appeared on five morning shows on Sunday. On CNN, she said that Egypt needs to “plan a way forward that will meet the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people.”

CROWLEY: The president’s remarks, in which he said much of what you just said, warning against huge crackdowns against peaceful protestors, saying we’ve got to see some concrete steps towards opening up political reform and advancing it, it’s been interpreted here by many and some overseas as a beginning to back away from President Mubarak. Do you argue with that translation?

CLINTON: We – we do not want to send any message about backing forward or backing back. What we’re trying to do is to help clear the air so that those who remain in power, starting with President Mubarak, with his new vice president, with the new prime minister, will begin a process of reaching out, of creating a dialogue that will bring in peaceful activists and representatives of civil society to, you know, plan a way forward that will meet the legitimate grievances of the Egyptian people.

Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, a columnist for The National, tweets:


@ SultanAlQassemi :
Al Jazeera: 100,000 protesters in Northern Egyptian city of Mansoura chanting against Mubarak (population One million )

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Military In The Air</span>  

Photos of military jets and a helicopter over Cairo.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 'Peaceful, Orderly Transition'</span>  

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley tweets:


@ PJCrowley :
#SecClinton today: U.S. supports a peaceful, orderly transition to free, fair and credible elections that lead to real democracy in #Egypt.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Helicopters</span>  

Military helicopters can be seen hovering above central Cairo.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Judges In Streets</span>  

A judge tells Al Jazeera English that hundreds of judges have taken to the streets in central Cairo.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Al Jazeera vs. Egypt State TV</span>  

A pretty stunning difference between Al Jazeera’s coverage and the footage seen on Egypt’s state television:

Al Jazeera:

State TV:

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Curfew Defied</span>  

It is now 4:07 PM in Cairo, and thousands are remaining in the city’s Tahrir Square, defying a curfew that went into effect at the top of the hour.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Jets Getting 'Lower And Lower'</span>  

An correspondent tells Al Jazeera English that military fighter jets are getting “lower and lower” above Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The sound is “really, really deafening,” he said, adding that the “crowd erupts in defiance” when the jets pass over.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Jets Over Cairo</span>  

Al Jazeera English online producer Evan Hill tweeted that “jets just flew low over Cairo.” More:


@ evanchill :
Jets just flew low over Cairo. Women looking out from their windows and balconies nearby. #jan25


@ evanchill :
Jets just did another fly-by, even lower and louder. Sending a nice signal there. #jan25

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Live From The Revolution</span>  

_The Nation _ published a piece chronicling the events by a man who grew up in Egypt and returned last Saturday:

I grew up in Egypt. I spent half my life here. But Saturday, when my plane from JFK airport touched down in Cairo, I arrived in a different country than the one I had known all my life. This is not Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt anymore and, regardless of what happens, it will never be again.

In Tahrir Square, thousands of Egyptians–men and women, young and old, rich and poor–gathered today to celebrate their victory over the regime’s hated police and state security forces and to call on Mubarak to step down and leave once and for all. They talked about the massive protest on Friday, the culmination of three days of demonstrations that began on January 25th to mark National Police Day. It was an act of popular revolt the likes of which many Egyptians never thought they would see during Mubarak’s reign.

Read the full piece here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> EXCLUSIVE: Influential Egyptian Speaks</span>  

HuffPost’s Craig Kanalley and Jake Bialer landed an exclusive interview with award-winning Egyptian actor and humanitarian Mahmoud Kabil today.

Kabil spoke to HuffPost via Skype today about the protests in Egypt, his take on the United States’ response, and what’s next for his country’s future.

Read the full interview here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Egyptian Student Reports: Inside The Revolution</span>  

Jessica Elsayed, a 17-year-old Youth Journalism International senior reporter and student from Alexandria, Egypt, has posted an article about her experience amidst the protests.

Elsayed reports:

I can hear booms outside from tear gas canisters exploding.
The police station next door caught fire last night.
As part of a new people’s militia, men from my building are guarding us with wooden sticks or knives. One neighbor has two swords.
The butcher down the street sharpened knives and handed them out, not out of violence but for protection.
Looters are not welcome in my neighborhood. Elsewhere in the city, they’ve pillaged a big mall, driven off with new BMWs and attacked many jewelry stores by shattering windows and grabbing all they can.
It’s pretty intense.
Those who are doing the looting and setting the fires are from the police, something they’re not saying on television but everyone knows it. It’s really distressing.
The government blames protesters but everyone knows who’s really doing it.
I’m not scared because I trust the men in my building and I trust my neighbors. It’s very brave of them to stand guard.

No one sleeps as we watch the televised images of the revolution going on throughout Egypt, including my hometown.

Read her whole story here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Anonymous Internet Users Helping Egyptians Communicate</span>  

HuffPost’s Craig Kanalley and Jake Bialer report:

“Internet not working, police cars burning,” sent out one Egyptian. “Today marks a great day for Egypt,” sent out another.

These messages weren’t coming from mobile phones or computers, but from an amateur radio sending out Morse Code somewhere amidst the chaos in Egypt.

The Egyptian government’s efforts to limit communications within the country has triggered a wave of activism from an international group of free speech activists on the Internet called Telecomix.

Read the whole story here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Obama's Meeting</span>  

The White House released a photo from President Obama’s meeting today with his national security team:

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Death Toll Surpasses 100</span>  

Reuters reports the sad news:

More than 100 people have been killed during anti-government protests that have swept Egypt, according to a Reuters tally of reports from medical sources, hospitals and witnesses.

There was no official figure, and the real figure may be very different, given the confusion on the streets.

More here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 700 Prisoners Escape In Egypt</span>  

A massive prison break in Egypt is being reported in Egypt. According to Reuters:

Some 700 prisoners escaped in Fayoum, south of Cairo, and killed a senior police officer, sources said. Another senior police officer was also kidnapped in Damietta, a witness said.

In Cairo, witnesses said armed men seized ambulances and police vehicles, quickly driving off away from streets where they were chased by community watch groups.

“They are torching down the prisons. Our lives and property are at risk. Get out of the way,” one shopper shouted, echoing the anxieties of many as they raced to stock up at supermarkets.

You can read the entire report here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 19 Private Jets Head To Dubai</span>  

Wealthy businessmen are fleeing Cairo as protests continue. Reports the AP:

An official at Cairo airport says 19 private jets carrying families of wealthy Egyptian and Arab businessmen have flown out of the capital.

The official said the jets left Saturday carrying dozens of family members of Egypt’s business elite. He said most of the planes were headed for Dubai.

The passengers included the families of telecom mogul Naguib Sawiris, the executive chairman of Orascom Telecom, and Hussein Salem, a hotel tycoon and close confidant of President Hosni Mubarak.

The exodus of the families comes as Egypt enters its sixth day of mass unrest directed against Mubarak and what they say have been policies that further enrich the wealthy at the average citizen’s expense.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Countries Flying Out Citizens</span>  

Reports the AP:

Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan organized an additional 10 flights to evacuate their citizens, officials at Cairo International Airport said. Among those who left were families of diplomats.

Egypt’s national carrier, meanwhile, was forced to cancel 15 scheduled flights because it was unable to secure the necessary crew and service personnel, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 17 People Shot Dead By Police: Reports</span>  

Riot Police have killed 17 people attacking a police station. Reuters reports:

Egyptian police shot dead 17 people trying to attack two police stations on Saturday in Beni Suef governorate, south of Cairo, witnesses and medical sources said.

Twelve of those shot were attempting to attack a police station in Biba while five others were trying to attack another in Nasser city. Dozens of others were injured in the exchanges.
Looters Rip Heads Off Mummies

AP reports:

Would-be looters broke into Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum, ripping the heads off two mummies and damaging about 10 small artifacts before being caught and detained by soldiers, Egypt’s antiquities chief said Saturday.

Zahi Hawass said the vandals did not manage to steal any of the museum’s antiquities, and that the prized collection was now safe and under military guard.

With mass anti-government protests still roiling the country and unleashing chaos on the streets, fears that looters could target other ancient treasures at sites across the country prompted the military to dispatch armored personnel carriers and troops to the Pyramids of Giza, the temple city of Luxor and other key archaeological monuments.

More here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Reports From Cairo</span>  

Reader Patricia writes in with updates from her daughter, who is in Cairo. She says:

[My daughter]’s in Cairo. Her cell phone is working today.

She said the demonstrations during the day included women and men, but just men at night. She said Egyptians are the nicest people in the world. She said the demonstrators are aware others around them and once when one of the police got hurt demonstrators carried him off to safety.

Some demonstrators are carrying signs and chanting things about human rights justice and THEY are not the violent ones, they are not looting. The talk on the street is that Mubarak opened up some of the jails and let out thugs to terrorize neighborhoods, while calling back the police. They think it might be a strategy to have the people want him back to restore order. It’s nice people out during the day and hoodlums at night. If the demonstrators see vandalism or violence being perpetrated they chase down the vandal, lock him in a garage and call the police. She said mostly the police are ok, just doing their job. But police stations have been trashed and guns stolen. Citizens have to deal with looters. Right now where she is groups of men are outside of the buildings and blocking cars so they can check every single car before letting it pass through the neighborhood. People are really united.

The word is that the army is on their own right now i.e. they were given orders to shoot to disperse the crowd and they refused. When they saw that the men in the neighborhood were out protecting the area they told them it was good that they were standing there and gave them an emergency number to call.

Confusion around the airlines. They think the airlines are shut down right now but not sure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: _The airports are open, but flight cancellations and delays are rampant. Some countries are scheduling emergency flights to evacuate their nationals. _

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 'The Pharaonic Dictatorship'</span>  

Al Jazeera writes that Mohamed ElBaradei, who has played a key role in Egypt’s opposition, said the following:

“We are seeking a change of regime. President Mubarak should step down. We should head towards a democratic state through a new government and free democratic elections…The whole world should realize that the Egyptians are not going home until their demands are realized…We are talking about taking down the Pharaonic dictatorship.”
Obama Meeting

President Obama met with his national security team today. According to the White House, Obama “reiterated our focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights; and supporting concrete steps that advance political reform within Egypt.”

Full White House statement:

At 1:00 pm today, the President convened a meeting of his national security team at the White House. Participants included Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, National Security Advisor to the Vice President Tony Blinken, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, Senior Director for the Central Region Dennis Ross, Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa Dan Shapiro, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and Senior Advisor David Plouffe. The meeting lasted just over an hour. The President was updated on the situation in Egypt. He reiterated our focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights; and supporting concrete steps that advance political reform within Egypt.
Police Have Vanished, Widespread Looting In The City

Reports from CNN journalists on the ground are that the Egyptian police have mostly vanished from the streets, leaving the Army as the only security force in the city. The Army is protecting government buildings but not people’s homes and commercial property. Looting is widespread.

AP reports: Cairo residents boarded up homes and set up neighborhood watches armed with guns, clubs and knives Saturday as looting engulfed the capital, despite the deployment of army troops to restore order.

Residents reported gangs of youths, some on motorbikes, roaming the streets, looting supermarkets, shopping malls and shops. Some of the gangs made it to affluent residential areas in the suburbs, breaking into luxury homes and apartments. The crack of gunfire could be heard in the city center as well as outlying districts.

The situation had spiraled far enough out of control by dusk Saturday that the army was deploying reinforcements across the city to restore order and prevent looting, state TV said.

The looting, which has spread despite a 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew, has prompted residents in some neighborhoods, including the upscale Zamalek district in central Cairo, to set up vigilante groups to protect private property. Outside some apartment blocks, guards armed with machine guns had taken up posts.

In the well-heeled Maadi neighborhood in south Cairo, neighborhood mosques called on young men over loudspeakers to come down to the entrances of building and homes to ward off looters.

Naglaa Mahmoud, a 37-year-old Maadi resident, said thugs were breaking cars and threatening to get into homes. She said even the ambulance service in the neighborhood had abandoned their offices and accused the regime of planning the chaos by pulling out all of its police forces.

“All this seems to be prearranged. They are punishing us for asking for this change,” she said. “What a shame he (Mubarak) doesn’t care for the people or anything. This is a corrupt regime.”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Middle East Leaders React To Egypt</span>  

Saudi Arabia’s leader has harshly condemned the protestors in Egypt, while in Iran, the foreign ministry said that Egypt should “respect” the protestors, CNN is reporting. According to the report:

Saudi King Abdullah called Mubarak and “was reassured” about the situation in Egypt, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

“During the call, the king said, ‘Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition,’” the news agency said.

Saudi Arabia “strongly condemns” the protest, it said.

The Egyptian president’s harsh views about the Iranian leadership were recently exposed by WIkiLeaks. In the leaked cables, Mubarak reportedly describes the Iranian leadership as sponsors of terrorism and says, “They are big, fat liars and justify their lies because they believe it is for a higher purpose.”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Cell Phone Reception Restored</span>  

According to Reuters, Vodafone, which previously agreed to shutdown cell phone service in Egypt at the request of the Egyptian government, is now resuming service. Reuters the wire service:

Mobile phone services started to resume across the Egyptian capital on Saturday, after being shut down a day earlier during unprecedented demonstrations calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Telecoms operator Vodafone (VOD.L) said it and other mobile operators had no option but to comply with an order from the Egyptian authorities to suspend services in selected areas of the country [ID:nWLA3980].

The move was heavily criticised by rights groups.

“We would like to make it clear that the authorities in Egypt have the technical capability to close our network, and if they had done so it would have taken much longer to restore services to our customers,” a Vodafone spokesman said.
Protest In Georgia

A picture of the solidarity protests taking place in Atlanta, Georgia:


@ juicyjazmyn :
Passing by the Egypt demonstration @ajc

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Tunisia Minister Weighs In </span>  

The protestors have said that they were inspired by the successful ousting of the Tunisian president. Now Tunisia’s new foreign minister has given his take on the Egypt. Reports the AP:

Tunisia’s new foreign minister says his country isn’t going to lecture Egyptians on what path their country should take, following this week’s anti-government protests.

Ahmed Ounaies says the two Arab countries are different and must each chart their own course.

He told The Associated Press Saturday “it is up to the Egyptian people to decide their present and their future for themselves. We are not going to decide on their behalf or give them any lessons.”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> ElBaradei Speaks</span>  

Opposition activist ElBaradei says the protestors will not stop now, according to Al Jazeera:


@ AJELive :
“People will demonstrate, they will not go home until justice is restored and democracy is gained”- #ElBaradei #egypt

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Obama's Egypt Response</span>  

Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy has an interesting take on the Obama administration’s response to the Egypt crisis. According to him, they’re doing a pretty good job at providing a pragmatic endgame option for the protestors, which they need more than U.S leadership. Argues Lynch:

What they do need, if they think about it, is for Obama to help broker an endgame from the top down — to impose restraints on the Egyptian military’s use of violence to repress protests, to force it to get the internet and mobile phones back online, to convince the military and others within the regime’s inner circle to ease Mubarak out of power, and to try to ensure that whatever replaces Mubarak commits to a rapid and smooth transition to civilian, democratic rule. And that’s what the administration is doing. The administration’s public statements and private actions have to be understood as not only offering moral and rhetorical support to the protestors, or as throwing bones to the Washington echo chamber, but as working pragmatically to deliver a positive ending to a still extremely tense and fluid situation.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Report From Cairo</span>  

A reader who wishes to be known only by his alias Abu and Twitter handle @EgyptFreedomNow writes to tell us the situation on the ground in Cairo this morning. Reports Abu:

So far the protests have been hostile with the plain clothes thugs and uniformed riot police under Mubarak!

Reactions to his speech have been brutally negative from everyone young and old. We the people of Egypt do not want a change in the regime, we want regime change! You cannot reform a broken government by re-shuffling the the card deck with “new and improved minions” when the dictator dealer is corrupt! The Army has been very respectful so far as have the crowds. We share a weary but mutual trust and camaraderie.

A majority of Egyptians in Cairo want the following:

  1. Pro-secular freedom and tolerance of others. This includes Coptic Christians that have been supporting our effort.

  2. We want a Constitutional Democracy.

  3. We want to exile Mubarak and his family. There is no compromise on this priority issue from our people.

  4. No more dictators regardless of their name, rank, or popularity!

  5. No hard-line theocracy! Especially no “Muslim Brotherhood” thugs that would crackdown worse than this regime has ever done for human rights.
    Just as American President Reagan told Gorbachev in 1987 Berlin to: “Tear down this wall!”

President Obama must tell Mubarak in 2011 Cairo to: “Tear down this firewall!”

We are nervous today because we do not know how violent they will become during each new day of protest. This has been much more peaceful than we believed it would be, however we are not even one week into this path we have taken.
Much of the service here has been cut. No phone, no sms, and no internet without proxies.

The best resource we have been using to spread information about how to get information out to others is this resource list website:

May peace guide our actions as we seek a new dawn in Cairo.
‘More Of The Same’

Ben Wedemen from CNN tweets:


@ bencnn :
New VP Omar Sulaiman and PM Ahmed Shafiq are as Mubarak as Mubarak. Egyptians in no mood for more of the same. #Jan25 #Egypt

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> New Prime Minister</span>  

Al Jazeera is reporting that former aviation minister Ahmad Shafiq has been appointed prime minister.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Israel Evacuates 200 Citizens From Egypt</span>  

AP reports: Israel’s national airline has whisked some 200 Israelis, including families of Israeli diplomats, out of Egypt on board an emergency flight to escape the chaos engulfing the Arab country.
An Israeli official said Saturday’s flight included dozens of tourists as well as diplomat’s families.

The official said Israeli diplomats would remain in Egypt for the time being. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

A Cairo airport official confirmed that El Al arranged the special flight. El Al does not usually fly on the Jewish sabbath to appease observant Jewish passengers who do not travel on the day of rest.

El Al refused to comment.

The flight reflects Israel’s concerns over the situation in Egypt — the first Arab country to reach peace with Israel.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Leading Cleric Calls Mubarak 'Blind, Deaf And Dumb'</span>  

Sunni Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi has called on Mubarak to step down. The Egyptian-Qatari Qaradawi insisted that the Egyptian president’s ouster would be the only solution to the nation’s problems now that he had turned “blind, deaf and dumb.’ Reports the AFP:

The cleric, spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and longtime resident of Qatar, heads the International Union for Muslim Scholars.

“There is no staying longer, Mubarak, I advise you (to learn) the lesson of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali,” he said, referring to Tunisia’s deposed president who fled to Saudi Arabia.

“Go Mubarak, have mercy on this people and leave so as not to increase the destruction of Egypt,” he added.

He told Egyptians to “continue their uprising” but cautioned against any “attack on state institutions.” The uprising “must come through peaceful means,” Qaradawi said.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Widespread Looting</span>  

NBC’s Richard Engle reports from Cairo that widespread looting is taking place in the wealthy suburbs outside the city as well as in Cairo itself.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> More On Omar Suleiman, The New Vice President</span>  

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named a vice president Saturday for the first time since coming to power nearly 30 years ago. It was a clear step toward setting up a successor in the midst of the biggest challenge ever to his rule from tens of thousands of anti-government protesters.

Mubarak named his intelligence chief and close confidant Omar Suleiman, state television reported.

Mubarak was widely seen as grooming his son Gamal to succeed him, possibly even as soon as in presidential elections planned for later this year. However, there was significant public opposition to the hereditary succession.

Suleiman has been in charge of some of Egypt’s most sensitive foreign policy issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and inter-Palestinian divisions.

His appointment as vice president answers one of the most intriguing and most enduring political questions in Egypt: who would succeed the 82-year-old Mubarak?

Like Mubarak, Suleiman has a military background. The powerful military has provided Egypt with its four presidents since the monarchy was toppled nearly 60 years ago.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Police Open Fire On Crowd In Cairo</span>  

AP reports: Police have opened fire on a massive crowd of protesters in downtown Cairo, killing at least one demonstrator.
Thousands of protesters are trying to storm the Interior Ministry located in the heart of the city.

At least one body was seen being carried out on the shoulders of protesters Saturday. Many people were wounded as well.

It was not immediately clear whether the riot police were shooting live ammunition or rubber bullets.

Massive anti-government demonstrations are sweeping through downtown Cairo, defying a government curfew and demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Protesters Look To Defy Another Curfew</span>  

Washington Post reports protesters look to defy government’s curfew again:

The army was hailed on the streets as a potential savior, and protesters gave the troops thumbs up, openly imploring them to join their movement. But security services issued a statement calling for protesters to leave central squares and major roadways by 4 p.m., or else face arrest.

As sundown approached, Tahrir Square was rapidly filling up in defiance of the curfew.

There was widespread looting in some neighborhoods of the capital - including the city’s upscale shopping district and the well-to-do suburbs. Government authorities blamed protesters run amok. But demonstrators claimed the destruction was perpetrated by plainclothes employees of the ruling National Democratic Party bent on sowing chaos to discredit the burgeoning pro-democracy campaign.
Tens Of Thousands Of Protesters Return To Streets Saturday

AP reports: A massive crowd of tens of thousands calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak was gathering in the streets and squares of downtown Cairo Saturday afternoon, with protesters making clear they reject promises of reform and a new government offered by the embattled leader trying to hang on to power.

Dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers fanned out across the city of 18 million, guarding key government building a day after large, violent confrontations emboldened the movement demanding a change of leadership. There was rampant looting across the sprawling city of 18 million and a growing feeling of fear and insecurity.

In the city’s main Tahrir Square, at the center of Saturday’s massive demonstration, there was only a light military presence — a few tanks — and soldiers are not intervening. Few police were seen in the crowds and the protest began peacefully but then police opened fire on some people in the crowd near the Interior Ministry and a number of them were wounded by gunshots. It was not clear whether they used rubber bullets or live ammunition.

One army captain joined the demonstrators, who hoisted him on their shoulders while chanting slogans against Mubarak. The officer ripped a picture of the president.

“We don’t want him! We will go after him!” demonstrators shouted. They decried looting and sabotage, saying: “Those who love Egypt should not sabotage Egypt!”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Saudi Stock Exchange Tumbles</span>  

AP reports: Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange tumbled by over 6 percent on Saturday, setting the stage for other regional markets to drop as concerns mounted about the violent protests in Egypt that presented the most serious challenge to President Hosni Mubarak’s roughly 30-year rule.
The Saudi Tadawul was down 6.27 percent to 6,278.04 points by about 3:15 p.m. Saudi time. The market in Saudi Arabia, where the start of the work week is Saturday, was the first to react to the violence in Egypt and the drop in the TASI offered a window into the potential battering that could emerge when other regional markets reopen on Sunday.

“The fall is due to sentiment about what’s happening in Egypt, and also in the US because the Dow went down” on Friday, said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at the Riyadh-based Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Army Shows Signs Of Sympathy For Protesters</span>  

The New York Times reports that the Egyptian army is showing signs of sympathy for the protesters as they flood the streets of Cairo Saturday for a 5th day of demonstrations:

While some protesters clashed with police, army tanks expected to disperse the crowds in central Cairo and in the northern city of Alexandria instead became rest points and even, on occasion, part of the protests as anti-Mubarak graffiti were scrawled on them without interference from soldiers.

In another sign that the army was showing sympathy for the demonstrations, in a different central Cairo square on Saturday a soldier in camouflage addressed a crowd through a bullhorn declaring that the army would stand with the people.

“I don’t care what happens,” the soldier said. “You are the ones who are going to make the change.” The crowd responded, “The army and the people will purify the country.”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Protesters Return To The Streets Saturday</span>  

AP reports: Tanks guarded key government building around Cairo and the central square Saturday as protesters returned to the streets a day after massive and violent confrontations emboldened the movement demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. The Cabinet resigned in the midst of rampant looting across the sprawling city and the death toll since protests began rose to 45.

Dozens of military armored personnel carriers and tanks as well as soldiers on foot deployed around a number of key government buildings in the capital, including state television and the Foreign Ministry after thousands of protesters besieged the two offices in Friday’s riots. The military was protecting important tourist and archaeological sites such as the Egyptian Museum, home to some of the country’s most treasured antiquities, as well as the Cabinet building. The pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo — Egypt’s premiere tourist site — were closed by the military to tourists.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> China Blocks 'Egypt' On Twitter-Like Site</span>  

Australia’s reports that China has blocked the word “Egypt” from appearing in searches on its country’s popular Twitter-like service:

A search for “Egypt’’ on the Sina microblogging service brings up a message saying, “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results are not shown.’’

The service has more than 50 million users.

Read more here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Oil, Dollar Surge After Egypt Protests</span>  

Bloomberg reports on the worldwide financial state following today’s activity in Egypt:

Stocks worldwide plunged the most since November, crude oil posted the biggest jump since 2009 and the dollar rose versus the euro after protesters posed the biggest challenge to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Egypt’s dollar bonds sank, pushing yields to a record.

Full story here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Did America Back Rebels Behind Uprising?</span>  

The Telegraph reports on an Egyptian dissident trained in New York:

The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police.

On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011.

Full story here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Inside The State Department's Twitter Diplomacy</span>  

_Foreign Policy _ sheds light into how the State Department works behind the scenes to try to prevent Arab leaders from blocking social media and online tools.

Foreign policy reports:

The State Department has been working furiously and mostly behind the scenes to cajole and pressure Arab governments to halt their clampdowns on communications and social media. In Tunisia there seem to have been real results, in Egypt, it’s too soon to tell.

Ever since the State Department intervened during protests by the Iranian Green movement in June 2009, convincing Twitter to postpone maintenance so opposition protestors could communicate, the U.S. government has been ramping up its worldwide effort to set up a network of organizations that could circumvent crackdowns on Internet and cell phone technologies by foreign governments.

Full story here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> White House Cut Funding To Promote Democracy In Egypt</span>  

HuffPost’s Marcus Baram reports:

President Obama’s historic speech at Cairo University galvanized millions of people across the Arab world with its inspiring message of peace and brotherhood among Muslims. And his stirring endorsement of democracy led many Egyptians gave hope to many Egyptians that his words would ring in a new era, helping pressure their own government to hold free and fair elections and to adhere to the rule of law.

But when it comes to backing up the president’s rhetoric since that speech in June 2009, the administration has a decidedly mixed record and has disappointed many Egyptians, foreign policy experts tell The Huffington Post. Though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has championed human rights around the world and American diplomats have quietly encouraged political and legal reforms in Egypt, when it comes to promoting democracy in the riot-torn country, efforts have generally been less aggressive than the Bush administration’s.

Read the rest here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Protestors Take Over Egyptian Embassy In Venezuela</span>  

Protestors in Venezuela briefly took over the Egyptian embassy there in a show of solidarity with the protestors in Egypt. The protestors entered the embassy peacefully under a pretext, and then seized control. According to Bloomberg:

“The wanted to protest, of course, but they shouldn’t have done that because we are obliged to protect all of the embassies, which are sovereign territory,” Chavez said in comments carried on state television during a military event.

The government regained control of the embassy after the protestors spoke with Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Obama  Mubarak</span>  

The White House released this photo of President Obama speaking with Egyptian President Mubarak on Friday.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Audio Report From Egypt</span>  

You can listen to NYT Cairo Bureau Chief David Kirkpatrick’s audio report from Egypt here. Writes the New York Times’ Robert Mackey:

Dave was with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei as he faced down the security forces in the city’s Giza district and then witnessed part of the battle between protesters and the police for control of the Qasr al-Nil bridge.
Obama: ‘The Future Of Egypt Will Be Determined By The Egyptian People’

Obama stressed that there must be “concrete steps” towards political, social and economic reforms while reiterating that Egypt is a strong ally of the US. While calling for restraint on both sides of the protests, Obama also urdeg that Egypt cease interfering with Internet and social media use during the prostests.

Before the appearance he spoke with Mubarak for 30 minutes, during which time Obama urged the Egyptian president to take real steps towards reform.

Watch Obama’s speech here:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

His full remarks:

Good evening, everybody. My administration has been closely monitoring the situation in Egypt, and I know that we will be learning more tomorrow when day breaks. As the situation continues to unfold, our first concern is preventing injury or loss of life. So I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protestors.

The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.

I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet, to cell phone service and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century.

At the same time, those protesting in the streets have a responsibility to express themselves peacefully. Violence and destruction will not lead to the reforms that they seek.

Now, going forward, this moment of volatility has to be turned into a moment of promise. The United States has a close partnership with Egypt and we’ve cooperated on many issues, including working together to advance a more peaceful region. But we’ve also been clear that there must be reform – political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

In the absence of these reforms, grievances have built up over time. When President Mubarak addressed the Egyptian people tonight, he pledged a better democracy and greater economic opportunity. I just spoke to him after his speech and I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words, to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.

Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people. And suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. What’s needed right now are concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people: a meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens, and a path of political change that leads to a future of greater freedom and greater opportunity and justice for the Egyptian people.

Now, ultimately the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. And I believe that the Egyptian people want the same things that we all want – a better life for ourselves and our children, and a government that is fair and just and responsive. Put simply, the Egyptian people want a future that befits the heirs to a great and ancient civilization.

The United States always will be a partner in pursuit of that future. And we are committed to working with the Egyptian government and the Egyptian people – all quarters – to achieve it.

Around the world governments have an obligation to respond to their citizens. That’s true here in the United States; that’s true in Asia; it is true in Europe; it is true in Africa; and it’s certainly true in the Arab world, where a new generation of citizens has the right to be heard.

When I was in Cairo, shortly after I was elected President, I said that all governments must maintain power through consent, not coercion. That is the single standard by which the people of Egypt will achieve the future they deserve.

Surely there will be difficult days to come. But the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free, and more hopeful.

Thank you very much.
Presidential Statement

President Obama will make a statement about Egypt in the next few minutes.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 'Change In The Regime'</span>  

Al Jazeera correspondent Sherine Tadros tweets about Mubarak’s decision to dismiss the government:


@ SherineT :
Mubarak says he’ll fire govt but people are asking for regime change not a change in the regime! #egypt #jan28

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Axelrod: Obama Has 'Directly Confronted' Mubarak</span>  

Jake Tapper sat down with White House senior adviser David Axelrod. In an interview airing tonight on ABC’s “Nightline,” Axelrod says that Obama has “on several occasions directly confronted Pres. Mubarak.”

TAPPER: Hosni Mubarak is not a good guy and that government tortures, is repressive, doesn’t believe in the same freedoms we do and they’re also one of our closest allies in the Middle East.

AXELROD: Obviously these are the challenges of the presidency in a very difficult world. And, but the way he’s confronted it, is he went to Cairo and talked about the need, the universal human rights of people. He’s – on several occasions directly confronted Pres. Mubarak on it. And pushed him on the need for political reform –

TAPPER: To get ahead of this.

AXELROD: – in his country. Exactly to get ahead of this. This is a project he’s been working on for 2 years and today the president is working hard to encourage restraint and a cessation of violence against the people of Egypt.

Read the rest here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Mubarak Speaks</span>  

Mubarak is making an announcement. He said that he regrets the casualties but stressed, “There is a fine line between freedom and chaos.” He appeared calm and collected and is stressing the need to defend order in the country.

He addressed the commitment of the government to “ease the suffering” of the people brought on by economic woes. He also referred to acts of looting by the protestors. The Egyptian leader said he was addressing Egypt as “the President of the Republic and an Egyptian citizen.”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Desperate Twitter Plea </span>  

Filmmaker Louis B Lewarne tweets from Egypt:


@ dancefromiraq :
URGENT CALL Wounded desperately need medical supplies in Bab El Loq and transport to hospital DM me for details

His bio says that he is based in Cairo.

You can see a roundup of tweets from the ground in Egypt here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 1,030 Wounded In Cairo </span>  

13 people have been killed in Suez and 1,030 have been wounded in Cairo. According to Reuters:

[Medical sources] did not specify whether they were protesters or police who were killed, or how they died.They said 1,030 had been wounded in the protests in Cairo, up from an earlier estimate of 870.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 'Nobody To Protest Against'</span>  

Ben Wedemen of CNN is reporting from Cairo that the situation is calming down as the government recedes. He tweets:


@ bencnn :
Cairo calmer:there is no gov’t, no authority, no police. Soldiers and RepGuards at ForMin, StateTV. No protest bcs nobody to protest against

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Death Toll Rises</span>  

According to Al Jazeera, the death toll for the protests has now risen to 11. Breaking News tweets:


@ BreakingNews :
Suez death toll 11 in #Egypt unrest - Al Jazeera #jan25

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Egyptian Plane Bomb Scare</span>  

Reports the AP:

Greek authorities say an Egypt Air passenger jet has made an unscheduled landing in Athens after a note with a possible bomb threat was found aboard.

Officials say all 251 passengers have been safely evacuated from the plane, which was flying from London’s Gatwick Airport to Cairo. Police are checking the plane for explosives.

The pilot requested to land at Athens shortly before 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) Friday, after a piece of paper containing the word “bomb” was found in the plane, authorities said.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Reports from Egypt</span>  

Reader Amr B. writes:

Internet is blocked, the small ISP I happen to be with still has access and is reported to be the only one in Egypt with access, no one knows why it’s still working. Mobile phones are out, so it’s very difficult to get any information from the people on the street. Landlines are still working though.

There is a curfew now, but it’s being widely disregarded, the army is reported to be taking over from the police. The ruling party’s headquarters is reported to be set on fire, which is a symbol of what is currently happening.
Gibbs Press Conference

White House spokesperson says that Obama has not spoken with Egyptian president Mubarak. He also said that the protests were a situation that would be sovled “by the Egyptian people.”

Gibbs reiterated that the US’s assistance to Egypt would be re-evaluated based on the ongoing unrest. He clarified that all aid to Egypt would be under review, both military and non-military, When asked if the US stands with Mubarak, he answered, “We’re monitoring a very fluid situation.”

When asked about the Muslim Brotherhood, Gibbs said that the administration was “not in touch with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> US Travel Warning Issued</span>  

The US has issued a travel warning for Egypt. Reports the AP:

WASHINGTON — The State Department is urging Americans to defer any non-essential travel to Egypt because of the large anti-government protests and warning U.S. citizens already in the country to stay put until the situation stabilizes.

You can read more here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Possible Dialup Service</span>  

Reader Stéphane M. tells us that a dial-up Internet service has been made available by a French data service. You can call the number to set up an internet connection. Reports Stéphane:

An anonymous dialup service provided by on +33172890150 login: toto

password: toto #egypt

FDN, the company providing the service, has written the following in response to the Internet blackout in Egypt:

For this reason, and because this is definitely a open attack from a state against Internet, FDN has decided to a small window on the network by giving access to anyone interested a modem access account.

This way, anyone in Egypt who has access to a analog phone line and can call France is able to connect to the network using the following number: +33 1 72 89 01 50 (login: toto, password: toto).

We hope by this action to contribute to the freedom of expression of the egyptian people and allow them to keep a connection with the rest of the world. Finally let’s emphasize that FDN only offers a technical solution.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Raw Video Of Fires In Egypt</span>  

AP has released this video of fires burning in the Egyptian night.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> US To Review Aid Stance: AP</span>  

AP reports:

WASHINGTON – An Obama administration official says the U.S. will review its $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt based on events unfolding in the country, where the authoritarian government is struggling to extinguish huge and growing street protests.

The U.S. also warned citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Egypt and urged Americans in the country to stay put.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the situation. Egypt has been a key U.S. ally in the volatile region. U.S. officials are now increasing calls on President Hosni Mubarak, the target of the protesters, to respond with restraint and reverse steps taken to cut off the protesters’ ability to communicate.

The decision to review assistance to Egypt is a significant step as the U.S. seeks to balance the desire to maintain stability in the region with a recognition of the unexpected scope and uncertain outcome of the protests.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> EgyptAir Suspends Flights</span>  

Reports the AP:

Egypt’s national carrier says it has suspended its flights from Cairo for 12 hours.

EgyptAir’s announcement follows a government-imposed curfew from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. in response to widespread demonstrations and rioting that engulfed the Egyptian capital after Friday prayers.

The company said its flights from abroad will be able to land, but departures were canceled from 9 p.m.

Separately, a Cairo Airport official said a number of international airlines had canceled flights to the capital, at least overnight. The official was not authorized to speak to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Egyptian State TV </span>  

Al Jazeera notes that their coverage seems to be differing slightly from official Egyptian state television. That’s AL Jazeera on the left, with the car on fire, and Egyptian state television on the right. The two cameras are only a few hundred feet apart.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Hillary Clinton Urges Egypt 'To Allow Peaceful Protests'</span>  

The Secretary of State spoke on the Egyptian protests, saying that the U.S. ‘urges Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications.”

Meanwhile, President Obama has received a 40 minute briefing on the situation, reports HuffPost’s Sam Stein. Here’s a picture of that meeting:

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Curfew Defiance Continues </span>  

According to Breaking News:


@ BreakingNews :
Protesters resume demonstrations after final prayer of the day #Egypt #Jan25

It is a little after 7pm EST in Egypt right now.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Gibbs On Egypt</span>  

The White House Press Secretary tweets:


@ PressSec :
Very concerned about violence in Egypt - government must respect the rights of the Egyptian people turn on social networking and internet

No mention of Mubarak or a possible regime change.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Party Headquarters On Fire</span>  

Al Jazeera is reporting that smoke is emerging from the National Democratic Party headquarters in downtown Cairo. The AP reports:

Egypt’s military has deployed on the streets of Cairo for the first time since anti-government protesters took up their challenge to the regime of President Hosni Mubarak four days ago.

Parts of the ruling party headquarters in Cairo were going up in flames apparently set by enraged protesters demanding Mubarak’s ouster.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Raw Video</span>  

More video is emerging of the violence with which the protestors are being confronted.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Al Jazeera LIveblogs Police Visit</span>  

Al Jazeera’s Cairo office is getting a visit from state security forces, which it is liveblogging. Latest updates:

5:50 pm - Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin is watching protesters gathered on the street outside our bureau, chanting that they want to live in “dignity and peace.” Meanwhile, we hear police are approaching the front door of our office.5:36 pm - No update on what security forces are doing in the building housing our bureau, but Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin keeps broadcasting. On the streets, as if on cue, Cairenes are gathering on once-busy thoroughfares for evening prayers.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Syria Reportedly Suspends All Internet</span>  

UPDATE: The internet is not down in Syria. New reports show that disruptions are occurring, but allInternet services have not been suspended. Al Arabiya is now reporting that Syria is also blocking all internet service.


@ AlArabiya_Eng :
Syria suspends all Internet services

You can read more details on this developing story here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Obama To Be Briefed</span>  
                President Obama is reportedly asking to be kept informed of the protests. Reports CNN's Hala Gorani:


@ HalaGorani :
U.S. President Barack Obama is requesting daily “multiple briefings” on the crisis in #Egypt (White House spokesman Tommy Vietor).

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 2 French Journalists Arrested</span>  

Reports the AP:

Media companies say at least two French journalists have been arrested in the violent unrest sweeping the Egyptian capital.

The daily newspaper Le Figaro says its reporter Adrien Jaulmes was arrested Friday in Cairo and it has had no contact with him since he was detained.

The photo agency Sipa Press said one of its photographers, Albert Facelly, was also arrested in Cairo on Friday. The agency said it had no details on the circumstances of his arrest and no contact with him yet.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 'Tear Gas Everywhere'</span>  

CNN’s Ben Wedemen reports:


@ bencnn :
Madness in central Cairo. Tear gas everywhere police truck drives on 6 October Bridge randomly firing tear gas at point blank range #Jan25

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Camera Seized </span>  

A CNN camera crew was accosted by Egyptian forces on Friday, ultimately losing their camera. Reports CNN:

A CNN crew working to cover the clashes felt the wrath of Egypt’s police on Friday.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman said police grabbed a camera from network photojournalist Mary Rogers, cracked its viewfinder, and took the camera away.

Wedeman, who gave the account on CNN television, urged police to give back the camera to show that Egypt indeed does believe in freedom of the press.
Raw Video Of The Protests

The AP has released som raw video of protestors clashing with police in Cairo.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Opposition Leader Detained</span>  

According to Reuters, Egyptian forces have detained opposition activist Mohamed ElBaradei. He is reportedly trapped inside a building by the police. Reports the AP:

A soaking wet ElBaradei was trapped inside a mosque while hundreds of riot police laid siege to it, firing tear gas in the streets around so no one could leave. The tear gas canisters set several cars ablaze outside the mosque and several people fainted and suffered burns.

Before being detained, he described Mubarak’s regime as being “on its last legs,” reports the Guardian. He reportedly said, in response to the Internet service outage in Egypt:

Egypt today is in a pre-information age. The Egyptians are in solitary confinement – that’s how unstable and uncomfortable the regime is. Being able to communicate is the first of our human rights and it’s being taken away from us. I haven’t seen this in any other country before.
U.S. Diplomatic Cables Describe Egyptian Police Brutality

WikiLeaks is using Twitter to announce the release a number of U.S. diplomatic cables about Egypt.

A confidential cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in January 2009 claims, “The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators, certain political prisoners and unfortunate bystanders.” More from the same cable:

Police brutality in Egypt against common criminals is routine and pervasive. Contacts describe the police using force to extract confessions from criminals as a daily event, resulting from poor training and understaffing. Brutality against Islamist detainees has reportedly decreased overall, but security forces still resort to torturing Muslim Brotherhood activists who are deemed to pose a political threat. Over the past five years, the government has stopped denying that torture exists, and since late 2007 courts have sentenced approximately 15 police officers to prison terms for torture and killings. Independent NGOs have criticized GOE-led efforts to provide human rights training for the police as ineffective and lacking political will. The GOE has not yet made a serious effort to transform the police from an instrument of regime power into a public service institution. We want to continue a USG-funded police training program (ref F), and to look for other ways to help the GOE address police brutality.
Qatar Allegedly Offered To ‘Stop’ Al Jazeera For A Year

According to a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, Qatar Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani (HBJ) once offered to “stop” television news network Al Jazeera, which is based in his country, in exchange for Egypt’s help brokering peace between Israel and Palestine.

The cable was written by U.S. officials as a recap of a meeting Hamad bin Jassim had in February 2010 with U.S. Senator John Kerry. Hamad bin Jassim reportedly indicated that the offer was made to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after the Egyptian leader blamed Al Jazeera as the source of his country’s problems.

Egypt’s disdain for the news network was documented less than a year before the nation would reportedly shut down other critical information systems, including citizens’ access to the internet.

From the cable posted on WikiLeaks:

Qatar is worried, said HBJ, about Egypt and its people, who are increasingly impatient. Mubarak, continued HBJ, says Al Jazeera is the source of Egypt’s problems. This is an excuse. HBJ had told Mubarak “we would stop Al Jazeera for a year” if he agreed in that span of time to deliver a lasting settlement for the Palestinians. Mubarak said nothing in response, according to HBJ.
WikiLeaks Cable On Egyptian Power Struggle: 10,000 Allegedly Jailed Without Court Cases

WikiLeaks has released a previously confidential cable with notes from a meeting held between Senator John Kerry and Qatar Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani (HBJ) on February 13, 2010. While that meeting focused on the friction between the Israelis and Palestinians, there was extensive discussion of Egypt’s role in those peace talks and a number of points were brought up about Egypt’s stability (from Qatar’s perspective).

From the cable:

Returning to his theme that “peace brokers” act in their own self-interest, HBJ observed that President Mubarak of Egypt is thinking about how his son can take his place and how to stave off the growing strength of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian government, said HBJ, has jailed 10,000 Muslim Brotherhood members without bringing court cases against them. The Egyptian “people blame America” now for their plight. The shift in mood on the ground is “mostly because of Mubarak and his close ties” to the United States.

The cable also notes that in discussions about the crisis in Gaza, “former Israeli PM Olmert later complained to Qatar that Egypt is a big country and not nimble; it could not move fast enough.”

HBJ later indicated that, paraphrased by the cable, “Saudi Arabia, as a big country like Egypt, has a vested interest in keeping Egypt afloat.”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Opposition Leaders Arrested</span>  

Senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood opposition group have been detained in Egypt, reports Reuters:

Lawyer Abdel-Moniem Abdel-Maksoud said at least eight senior figures had been held in raids in the early hours of Friday, including spokesmen Essam El-Erian, Mohamed Mursi and Hamdy Hassan.

“The reason is of course known: it’s what is expected to happen tomorrow,” he said.

A security source confirmed that authorities had ordered a crackdown on the group overnight: “We have orders for security sweeps of the Brotherhood,” the source told Reuters.

The Muslim Brotherhood has not been behind three days of protests by youth angry at poor living standards and authoritarian rule, but many followers of the group are expected to join demonstrations on Friday after weekly prayers.

You can read more here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Obama Administration Statements On Egypt</span>  

The people at Foreign Policy’s Passport blog have created a handy reference of all of the Obama administration’s statements on Egypt thus far. They include gems like this:

JOE BIDEN: Look, Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region: Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalizing the relationship with Israel.

And I think that it would be – I would not refer to him as a dictator.
Protest Plans Revealed

The Atlantic has translated a pamphlet being distributed among protestors. Reports the Atlantic:

What follows are side-by-side translations of nine pages from the 26-page pamphlet. They were translated over the last hour and pasted up in Photoshop to give you an idea of what’s in the protest plan. While the plan itself contains specifics about what protesters might do, these excerpts show how one might equip oneself for clashes with riot police.

The Guardian ran a summary of the pamphlet today, saying:

The leaflet includes aerial photographs with approach routes marked and diagrams on crowd formations. Suggested “positive” slogans include “long live Egypt” and “down with the corrupt regime”. There are no signs of slogans reflecting the agenda of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. It advises demonstrators to wear clothing such as hooded jackets, running shoes, goggles and scarves to protect against teargas, and to carry dustbin lids – to ward off baton blows and rubber bullets – first aid kits, and roses to symbolise their peaceful intentions.
WikiLeaks To Release Egypt Documents

WikiLeaks wades into the Egypt fray:


@ wikileaks :
We will soon release numerous cables on Egypt.

WikiLeaks cables have previously revealed the tense relations between the U.S. and Egypt. However, as the_ New York Times_ reports:

But they also reveal that relations with Mr. Mubarak warmed up because President Obama played down the public “name and shame” approach of the Bush administration. A cable prepared for a visit by Gen. David H. Petraeus in 2009 said the United States, while blunt in private, now avoided “the public confrontations that had become routine over the past several years.”

The cables also note the key role that Egypt plays as a regional negotiator and key ally for the U.S., if a deeply flawed one. Mubarak is portrayed as a “realist” but hostile to reform and wary of social movements. Writes the Times:

Still, Mr. Mubarak generally views broader reforms as an invitation to extremism. “We have heard him lament the results of earlier U.S. efforts to encourage reform in the Islamic world,” said a cable, noting that he often invoked the shah of Iran — a secular leader who came under pressure from Washington, only to be replaced by an even more repressive, hostile government.
‘Unprecedented In Internet History’

Internet intelligence authority Renesys has just weighed in with a blog post on recent developments:

Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.

At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet’s global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt’s service providers. Virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.

Read more about the Internet outage here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Has Egypt Shut Off The Internet? </span>  

The Arabist is reporting unusual internet service failures in Egypt. Issandr El Amrani writes:

I just received a call from a friend in Cairo (I won’t say who it is now because he’s a prominent activist) telling me neither his DSL nor his USB internet service is working. I’ve just checked with two other friends in different parts of Cairo and their internet is not working either.

Meanwhile, CNN’s Ben Wedeman tweets:


@ bencnn :
No internet, no SMS, what is next? Mobile phones and land lines? So much for stability. #Jan25 #Egypt

You can read more here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Graphic Video</span>  

The AP has a graphic video of a protestor being shot during the protests. It also includes raw footage of the protests elsewhere and ElBaradei speaking. WARNING: THIS IS A GRAPHIC VIDEO

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> P.J. Crowley Interview </span>  

State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley was grilled by Al Jazeera over the U.S. relationship with Egypt. “We want to see restraint on both sides,” Crowley insisted, reaffirming that Egypt is an ally while adding, “We want to make sure that Egypt is not interfering with the use of social media. That’s a fundamental right as clear as walking into a town square.”

After saying that the U.S. wants to make sure that Egyptians are allowed to protest peacefully, the interviewer says, “[Egypt’s] deploying the full ranks of its U.S.- backed 1.3 billion dollar- backed security forces to beat up those protestors. Isn’t it time perhaps to be a little firmer with President Mubarak?”

Watch the whole interview:

Crowley later tweeted:


@ PJCrowley :
#SecClinton spoke this afternoon with FM Aboul Gheit of #Egypt. She encouraged restraint and dialogue, and offered U.S. support for reforms.

The National Journal takes a closer look at the U.S.-Egypt relationship today, writing:

For decades, the U.S. relationship with Egypt has rested on an unspoken bargain. Washington has provided Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s widely unpopular government with tens of billions of dollars of aid while offering only mild criticism of its corruption and human-rights abuses. In exchange, Egypt has maintained a cold peace with Israel and worked as a key intermediary between the U.S. and other Arab states.

But the growing pro-democracy protests throughout Egypt threaten to upend that bargain and fundamentally restructure Washington’s relationship with Cairo. The Obama administration has been taking a notably tougher line with Mubarak, 82, than it has in the past, but the White House will soon have to decide whether the longstanding American commitment to democracy outweighs the risks of possibly toppling a vital and longstanding U.S. ally.

You can read the whole thing here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> In Egypt, A Familiar Playbook</span>  

The New York Times has a interesting article on the Mubarak government’s response to the protestors, which has mostly been silence. According to the Times, this is a battle-tested strategy:

As always, the government has responded to the unrest primarily as a security issue, largely ignoring, or dismissing, the core demands of those who have taken to the street.

“My analysis is, the government will leave them until they reach a level of exhaustion,” said Abdel Moneim Said, a member of the president’s ruling party and the director of the nation’s most important publishing house, Ahram.

The Egyptian leadership, long accustomed to an apolitical and largely apathetic public, remains convinced that Egypt is going through the sort of convulsion it has experienced — and survived — before.

As the AP noted today, the government’s offer of a “dialogue” was less than sincere:

Egypt’s ruling party said Thursday it was ready for a dialogue with the public but offered no concessions to address demands for a solution to rampant poverty and political change heard in the country’s largest anti-government protests in years.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Massive Protests Planned For Friday</span>  

Massive protests are being planned for Friday. The New York Times reports:

Smoke rose over the city of Suez on Thursday as sometimes violent protests continued there. In the capital, a relative calm settled over the streets in anticipation of a new wave of demonstrations anticipated for Friday.

Raising the stakes, the Muslim Brotherhood, long the country’s largest organized opposition group, intends to end days of official inaction to enter fully into protests on Friday. On its Web site, the group said it would join “with all the national Egyptian forces, the Egyptian people, so that this coming Friday will be the general day of rage for the Egyptian nation.”And CNN’s Ben Wedemen tweets:


@ bencnn :
To watch Friday. 1.Protests (obviously) 2.Police AND thugs-back against the wall, could be vicious.3.Eroding US support. 4.ElBaradei #Jan25

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> New Photos</span>  

Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy tweets:


@ blakehounshell :
New photos coming out from Suez. It’s a war zone

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Posterous Reaches Out To Egypt</span>  

Posterous is encouraging people experiencing Twitter/Facebook blackouts to post using email. The site writes:

With Twitter and Facebook now shut down in Egypt to quell government protests, email is the only reliable sharing platform left.

Same story in China. If you’re living or traveling there, email posting via Posterous Sites or Groups is the only way to get videos and photos to your Posterous site and reposted to Twitter and Facebook.

Sharing information to people in a country that blocks social media is also difficult. Posterous solves this problem by delivering the full content of your posts via email to your subscribers. This means that anyone with access to an email account can read your posts, even within a blocked country.
Texting Not Working?

CNN’s Ben Wedeman is reporting that SMS might not be working in Cairo:


@ bencnn :
I tried. It does look like SMS service on Mobinil IS NOT working. #Jan25 #Egypt

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 'This Is Not About Taking Sides': Gibbs</span>  

The White House is now saying that the protests are an opportunity for reforms in Egypt. Reports the AP:

Treading carefully, the White House said Thursday it believes Egypt’s government is stable, but said the ongoing protests provide President Hosni Mubarak an opportunity to enact reforms.

“We believe this represents an opportunity for Mubarak and the government to demonstrate its willingness to listen to its own people and devise a way to broaden the discussion and take some necessary actions on political reform,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have filled the streets of Cairo and other parts of Egypt in the largest anti-government protests in years. Demonstrators are calling for Mubarak’s ouster after 30 years in power.

Gibbs called on both the government and demonstrators to refrain from violence, but also implored Egypt’s government to respect the public’s right to assembly.

When asked repeatedly about the perception that the White House was siding with the protesters and not Mubarak as the crisis rages, Gibbs stuck with an answer: “This is not about taking sides.”

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Photos</span>  

You can find twitpics of the protests here:


@ BreakingNews :
New user photos of protests in Egypt, via breakingnews

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> ElBaradei On 'Point Of No Return' </span>  

Egyptian reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei is speaking at the airport. Reports Ben Wedeman of CNN:


@ bencnn :
ElBaradei at airport says the point of no return has been reached must be peaceful change govt must stop using violence #Jan25 #Egypt

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Facebook Update</span>  

Reader Brett B. writes:

I am an American soldier currently serving in Egypt. Facebook was blocked about an hour ago. This is BS as it is one of my main means of communication back home to the states!

Anthea S. reports:

I am a British citizen who has lived in Egypt for several years.

I can confirm that Facebook has been blocked for the last hour and half. I have been able to get limited access through a proxy server.

Jonathan C. adds from Ohio:

As of 12:00Noon, EST, nobody in Dahab (Sinai) could access their Facebook accounts. I am in Ohio, and chat with my sister in Dahab on a daily basis (via SKYPE). She made an informal survey of friends, shops, bars, and internet café folks, and discovered that no one was able to access their Facebook accounts. Of course, the assumption is that the government has denied access.
Reports From Cairo

Reader Jenna M. Wrote in to say:

I am in Cairo, Egypt right now and Facebook seems to have been blocked within the last hour. Throughout the day people here planned to protest again after they left work, and organizers are calling for protests tomorrow following Friday noon prayers.
Mohammed ElBaradei Returns, Government Ready To Talk

AP reports:

Egypt’s ruling party said Thursday it was ready for a dialogue with the public but offered no concessions to address demands for a solution to rampant poverty and political change heard in the country’s largest anti-government protests in years.

At the same time, the grass roots protest movement was getting a double boost likely energize the largest anti-government demonstrations Egypt has seen in years. Mohammed ElBaradei, a Nobel peace laureate and the country’s top pro-democracy advocate, was returning to the country Thursday night and declared he was ready to lead the protests. The country’s largest opposition group — the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood — also threw its support behind the demonstrations.

Protests erupted for a third straight day and social networking sites were abuzz with talk that Friday’s rallies could be some of the biggest so far calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak after 30-years in power. Millions gather at mosques across the city for Friday prayers, providing organizers with a huge number of people already out on the streets to tap into.

Read more here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Stock Market Plunging</span>  

Reports the AP:

CAIRO – Egypt’s benchmark index recorded its biggest drop in over two years Thursday, plummeting more than 10 percent as anti-government protests rattled investor confidence and left Hosni Mubarak’s regime facing its most serious challenge in years.

The EGX30 index closed down 10.5 percent to 5,646.50 points, capping a two day slide that brought its year-to-date losses to almost 21 percent. The market had tumbled 6.25 percent just 15 minutes into the session before trading was temporarily suspended. But the pause seemed to cement investor fears, and the drop continuing with the market’s resumption.

The day’s drop built on a 6.1 percent decline on Wednesday — a plunge fueled by the massive anti-government protests that mirrored earlier demonstrations in Tunisia that led to the ouster of that country’s president.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Who Are The Protestors?</span>  

The New York Times has an interesting piece on the makeup of the protests. While the Muslim Brotherhood has been the traditional face of the Egyptian opposition, the current protests are being driven by the youth movement. Writes the Times:

Many of the tiny, legally recognized political parties — more than 20 in total, with scarcely a parlor full of grass-roots supporters among them — are leaping to embrace the new movement for change but lack credibility with the young people in the street.

Even the Muslim Brotherhood may have grown too protective of its own institutions and position to capitalize on the new youth movement, say some analysts and former members. The Brotherhood remains the organization in Egypt with the largest base of support outside the government, but it can no longer claim to be the only entity that can turn masses of people out into the streets.

“The Brotherhood is no longer the most effective player in the political arena,” said Emad Shahin, an Egyptian scholar now at the University of Notre Dame. “If you look at the Tunisian uprising, it’s a youth uprising. It is the youth that knows how to use the media, Internet, Facebook, so there are other players now.”

Read the rest here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Two More Deaths</span>  

The AP is reporting that two more people have been killed in the protests:

(AP) Wednesday’s two deaths — one policeman and one protester hit by rocks during a protest in a poor central Cairo neighborhood — take to six the number of people who died so far in the clashes. Earlier, three protesters in Suez and one policeman in Cairo died.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Hillary Clinton: Stop Blocking Social Media</span>  

Hillary Clinton is talking tough on Egypt today, reports Reuters:

Clinton minced no words, suggesting Egypt’s government had to act now if it wanted to avert a similar outcome and urging it not to crack down on peaceful protests or disrupt the social networking sites that help organize and accelerate them.

“We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” Clinton said in a statement with Jordan’s Nasser Judeh at her side.

“We urge the Egyptian authorities not to prevent peaceful protests or block communications including on social media sites,” Clinton told reporters in the most blunt comments to date by the United States urging Mubarak to undertake reforms.

Read the full story here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Protestors Set Government BuIlding On Fire</span>  

Protestors in Suez, Egypt have set a government building on fire, Reuters is reporting:

Protesters in Suez set a government building on fire and tried to burn down a local office of Egypt’s ruling party late on Wednesday, security sources and witnesses said… Clashes with police left some 55 people injured, according to Reuters witnesses.

The report comes among widespread Twitter and AP reports that protestors are being beaten and arrested throughout Egypt. Read more here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Associated Press Journalists Arrested</span>  

In addition to the Guardian journalist mentioned below, the AP is reporting that a slew of its reporters and camera operators have been arrested, and some beaten, by Egyptian security officers. Reports the AP:

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian police arrested an Associated Press Television News cameraman and his assistant early Wednesday while they were filming clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo. An AP photographer was beaten by a policeman and injured while shooting demonstrations.

APTN’s Haridi Hussein Haridi, 54, and his assistant Haitham Badry, 23, were taken into custody during the biggest anti-government protests Egypt has seen in years. Haridi telephoned the AP news bureau to say the two had been pushed into a police van and were being driven to an unknown location before his mobile phone was disconnected.

Nearly 18 hours later, Haridi telephoned a colleague to say he and Badry were in police custody. He said they had not been mistreated but would not be released soon. He said he did not know why they were still being held.

Both were detained although they are accredited and were carrying press documents issued by Egyptian authorities.

Separately, AP photographer Nasser Gamil Nasser, 43, had his right cheekbone broken and will need surgery to repair the fractures. He said a policeman charged him while he was shooting protests late Tuesday and hurled a stone at his face. His camera was smashed.

Abdel Mohsen Salama, deputy of the head of the journalist’s association, said eight journalists have been detained in the protests.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> 860 Protestors Detained</span>  

According to the AP, there have been massive detentions so far:

Security officials said a total of 860 protesters have been rounded up nationwide since Tuesday, when tens of thousands turned out for the largest protests in Egypt in years — inspired by the uprising in Tunisia. They demanded Mubarak’s ouster and a solution to grinding poverty, rising prices and high unemployment.

After nightfall Wednesday, more than 2,000 demonstrators were marching on a major downtown boulevard along the Nile when dozens of riot police with helmets and shields charged the crowd. It was a scene repeated throughout the day wherever demonstrators tried to gather.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Audio Recordings From Arrested Journalist</span>  

The Guardian’s Jack Shenker was arrested while reporting from Cairo, but was able to describe his ordeal and make sound recordings from the back of a security forces truck. He says in the recording, which you can listen to here, that people are being “hauled out by police and beaten” and “herded into holding pens.”

Shenker writes for the Guardian:

The men were burly and wore leather jackets – up close I could see they were amin dowla, plain-clothes officers from Egypt’s notorious state security service. All attempts I made to tell them in Arabic and English that I was an international journalist were met with more punches and slaps; around me I could make out other isolated protesters also being hauled along, receiving the same treatment.

We were being dragged towards a security building on the edge of the square, two streets away from my apartment, and as I approached the doorway of the building other security officers took flying kicks and punches at me. I spotted a high-ranking uniformed officer and shouted at him that I was a British journalist. He responded by walking over and punching me twice, saying in Arabic, “Fuck you and fuck Britain”.

You can read more of Shenker’s gripping report here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Protests Continue Despite Ban</span>  

Reports the AP:

CAIRO – Egyptian activists on Wednesday used social networking sites to call for a fresh wave of demonstrations, a day after they staged the biggest protests in years in Egypt to demand the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule.

However, the Interior Ministry warned that police would not tolerate any gatherings, marches or protests, suggesting that security forces would immediately crackdown at the first sign of protesters gathering.

Across the Egyptian capital on Wednesday, thousands of riot police were deployed in anticipation of fresh anti-government, Tunisia-inspired protests. A day earlier, tens of thousands demonstrated in Cairo and several other Egyptian cities to call for Mubarak’s ouster and a solution to rampant poverty, rising prices and high unemployment.

Security officials, meanwhile, said up to 200 protesters were detained early Wednesday during clashes between police and protesters in Cairo and elsewhere in this Arab nation of some 80 million people.

More were likely to be detained as authorities review police video tapes of the protests, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Two protesters and a policeman were killed in Tuesday’s protests and some 250 were wounded, including 85 policemen, when riot police used tear gas and batons to disperse protesters shortly after midnight. Medical officials said a third protester died Wednesday from injuries sustained a day earlier.

In the southern city of Assiut, eyewitnesses said riot police set upon some 100 activists staging an anti-government protest Wednesday, beating them up with batons and arresting nearly half of them.

Activists had organized Tuesday’s protests, dubbed “day of revolution against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment,” on the social networking site Facebook, and demonstrators spread word of where to gather on Twitter.

“All of Egypt must move, at one time,” the Facebook group organizing the demonstrations said in a posting Wednesday in which it listed a number of spots in Cairo and around the country where demonstrators should gather.

Thousands of policemen in riot gear and backed by armored vehicles took up posts on bridges across the Nile, at major intersections and squares as well as outside key installations like the state TV building and the headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling National democratic Party in central Cairo.

The capital remained quiet in the early afternoon with no sign of fresh protests.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Egyptian Authorities Ban Protests</span>  

Egypt’s interior minister has banned further protests. Reports the AFP:

Egypt’s interior ministry on Wednesday banned demonstrations and warned that protesters will be prosecuted, as activists called for a second day of anti-government rallies.

“No provocative moves, or protest gatherings, or marches or demonstrations will be allowed,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Legal measures will be taken against anyone (in contravention), and they will be transferred to the prosecution,” the statement continued.
White House Weighs In

The White House issued a statement on Egypt following President Obama’s State of the Union address:

As we monitor the situation in Egypt, we urge all parties to refrain from using violence, and expect the Egyptian authorities to respond to any protests peacefully. We support the universal rights of the Egyptian people, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. The Egyptian government has an important opportunity to be responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people, and pursue political, economic and social reforms that can improve their lives and help Egypt prosper. The United States is committed to working with Egypt and the Egyptian people to advance these goals.

More broadly, what is happening in the region reminds us that, as the President said in Cairo, we have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and free of corruption; and the freedom to live as you choose – these are human rights and we support them everywhere.

Today, Egyptians filled the streets to protest the government of Hosni Mubarak, who has governed Egypt for three decades. In gatherings not seen on such a large scale since the 1970’s, thousands came together on the understandably less-than-popular national holiday Police Day. In Cairo, as well as Alexandria, Mansoura and Mahalla al-Kobra, among others, crowds gathered to call for the ouster of the president an an end to poverty and unemployment. Three people - two civilians and a police officer - were killed during the day, according to Reuters.

Despite a Twitter ban, organizers have been able to send messages using third party servers such as Tweetdeck, many using the hashtag #Jan25. There is also a vibrant Facebook page being updated at We Are All Khaled Said. You can watch a livestream of events in Cairo’s Tahrir Square here.

The use of social media and the popular nature of the uprising led to many comparisons with the recent “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia, which many of the participants said was their inspiration. Newsweek called it “the Tunisia Effect,” writing:

For nearly two weeks, Middle East pundits have speculated whether the ousting of Tunisian dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali would lead to further unrest in the region. And the answer came today: thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Cairo and a handful of smaller Egyptian cities to chant slogans against President Hosni Mubarak and demand more rights. … Egyptians have many of the same grievances as their Tunisian counterparts: a corrupt and ineffective government, dismal economic conditions, and torture at the hands of security forces.

Not everyone is convinced that Egypt will be the next Tunisia, however. Allahpundit warns that Egypt has different social and political factors that could effect a successful revolution in the country, noting:

Remember, Tunisia’s uprising was big news not only because it’s an unprecedented case of an Arab populace removing its own tyrant but because, at least in theory, Tunisians are well positioned to form something resembling an Arab liberal democracy. The public is well educated, women have equal rights, and Islamists don’t have a foothold (yet?) thanks to the since-departed dictator’s crackdown on opposition elements. In Egypt, by contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood has been a major opposition movement for decades, pushing democracy as a means to their end of installing an Islamist government, rescinding the country’s treaty with Israel, and unleashing whatever plans it has for the country’s huge Coptic Christian population.

Either way, the Egyptian protests were a big deal: except where they weren’t. Al Jazeera was widely rebuked for it’s coverage, which was seen as lackluster during the early parts of the protest, when attention would have been the most useful. Writes Marc Lynch for Foreign Policy:

One key factor was missing, though, at least early on. Al Jazeera has played a vital, instrumental role in framing this popular narrative by its intense, innovative coverage of Tunisia and its explicit broadening of that experience to the region. Its coverage today has been frankly baffling, though. During the key period when the protests were picking up steam, Al Jazeera aired a documentary cultural program on a very nice seeming Egyptian novelist and musical groups, and then to sports. Now (10:30am EST) it is finally covering the protests in depth, but its early lack of coverage may hurt its credibility. I can’t remember another case of Al Jazeera simply punting on a major story in a political space which it has owned.

And finally, as Obama begins to gear up for the State of the Union address, America finds itself with one more foreign policy pickle on its hands. Brookings Fellow Shadi Hamid sums up how the U.S. is damed if it does, or if it doesn’t:

The U.S. can opt for relative silence, as it did in Tunisia. In Egypt, however, deep support of the Mubarak regime means that silence will be interpreted as complicity. On the other hand, if the U.S. offers moral support to embattled protestors, it will be actively undermining a government it considers critical to its security interests. Tunisia, as far as U.S. interests are concerned, was expendable. The revolt was spontaneous and leaderless. Islamists - mostly in prison or in London - were nowhere to be seen on the streets of Tunis or Sidi Bouzid. But if Egypt is lost, it will be lost to an uprising that includes some of the most anti-American opposition groups in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood - by far the largest opposition force in the country.

The U.S. is - at least in the short term - stuck.

Keep checking back for updates.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Anonymous Attacks?</span>  

According to @magnificenteve, the Anonymous collective that cyber-attacked the Tunisian government and the opponents of Facebook has now turned to Egypt. She tweets:

anonymous are attacking the government website in #Egypt… , check them,they are down #Jan25

While it has not been confirmed that Anonymous is attacking the sites, they do seem to be down.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Raw Video Of Protests</span>  

The AP has this raw video of protestors running from tear gas.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Three Dead In Protests</span>  

Three people have reportedly been killed in the Egyptian protests. Reuters reports:

Two Egyptians died in protests in the Egyptian city of Suez, one of several places countrywide where demonstrators called for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s rule, medical and security sources said on Tuesday.

State television also said a security officer died in central Cairo in a square where thousands of protesters had gathered and clashed with police.

A medical source in a Suez hospital said the two bodies had arrived there. Sources blamed rubber bullets.

Read more here.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Mubarak Posters Destroyed</span>  

Protestors calling for President Mubarak’s ouster have attacked a poster of him in Cairo.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Security Officer Reportedly Killed</span>  

According to @Breaking News:

Egyptian security officer dies in a protest at central Cairo square - Reuters citing state TV
Clinton Says Everything Just Fine

Hillary Clinton has called the Mubarak regime “stable” despite the protests. According to the AP:

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Egypt’s government is stable despite the largest anti-government demonstration in the country in years.
Clinton said the United States is monitoring developments in Egypt, a key Arab ally.

An authoritarian president has led Egypt for decades.

Clinton says Egyptians have the right to protest, but urged all parties to avoid violence.

Still, Clinton is expressing confidence in the government of Hosni Mubarak, an important U.S. partner is the Middle East. She says Mubarak’s government appears stable and is looking for ways to respond to the needs of Egyptians.

                <span class="lb_heading"><span class="time"></span> Where Are The Police On National Police Day?</span>  

The protests were called in response to “National Police Day,” a much-hated national holiday. So where are the police? Says Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell:

After today, Mubarak can’t have great confidence in his Central Security Forces – the riot police charged with putting down demonstrations. These are usually slim, scared-looking lads from upper Egypt, poorly trained and uneducated, with little pay and few perks. I’ve seen multiple reports of the CSF being outmaneuved and backing down in the face of protesters. The army is another matter – more than a million men at arms, well-equipped and presumably well motivated to protect their significant interests across the country. (He can also call on the regular police and the vast resources of state security, which will no doubt be hunting down organizers in the days to come.) Will we be seeing tanks in the streets this spring?
Comparison To Tunisia

Protestors are ver conscious of the comparisons to the recent ‘Jasmine Revolution’ In Tunisia. According to the LA Times:

Estimates suggested that at least several thousand protesters squared off against as many as 20,000 security forces. Cairo became a fluid maze of protesters rushing through traffic as helmeted police – their boots slapping the pavement – hurried to corral them on boulevards lined with amazed bystanders.

“Don’t just sit there, get up, get up and join us,” Sharif Hussein Mekawi shouted at shopkeepers, mechanics and laborers who refused to join the march. “We are different than Tunisia. The Tunisians had only no freedom. We have no freedom, but we have poverty and no food and no jobs. We are a body with many more diseases.”

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