Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV





Or, click to learn more

Search

Friday
Jan282011

Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Black Hole or Another Day of Revolution

0336 GMT: So there is a 13-hour curfew imposed in Egypt, right? What that means is that people should remain at home, there shouldn't be any gatherings and police should be in-charge of the street. Instead, the police are missing and people are swarming through the capital Cairo. The situation is made worse by opportunistic looters. Several people in Egypt are reporting that shopkeepers are gathering relatives and friends to protect their businesses from looters in isolated areas of the city. 

Does that make sense?

0307 GMT: And now the mother of all disclosures? 

The Daily Telegraph quotes a Wikileaks diplomatic dispatch with the following story: 

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.

Read the full story on the Daily Telegraph here

0241 GMT: What are Egyptians doing now? Well, some of them are looking for loved ones who haven't returned from protests. Pervez Sharma blogs and there's more on his blog

FB friend: My sister-in-law has a sister in Egypt, her sisters husband went out to protest & has not been seen in almost 36 hours. There has been no word from him & police claim to not know where he is. She has asked me to pass this along to you, she does not want to post it on her page because she is afraid that they will retaliate against her sister & other relatives there. His name is Maram Eid he is 29 years old, he is 5 feet 8 inches tall, he was last wearing jeans, a black shirt, & a brown jacket with a patch sewn on it, the patch is of the Egyptian flag. He is married & has a 3 month old son. He is a graduate of the University of Alexandria.


0228 GMT: Nobody's ready to use the dreaded d-words. 

British Premier David Cameron called for reforms in Egypt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for lifting of the internet blockade and dialogue. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged President Mubarak to respect the right of Egyptians to peacefully resolve the crisis. And Obama called for all three. 

How about someone taking a stand for good old fashioned democracy?

0223 GMT: Al Jazeera confirms that at least 6 of the protesters slain today were killed in the city of Alexandria. 

0153 GMT: So did the protesters go home now that it's around 4 AM in Egypt? Well, not quite. Tharwacolamus tweets: 

Thousands of protesters still in Tahrir Square, signing, dancing, chanting "down with Mubarak," plan to stay all night. What curfew?

0138 GMT: Sarah El Sirgany from Cairo tweets incidents of looting of shops in the city. 

Another Egyptian twitterer tweets

Curfew > Ignored. #Mubarak Speech > Ignored. Obama Speech > No one cares. Revolution is on. 

0132 GMT: Al Jazeera now claims that over 20 protesters were killed today and over 1,000 were injured. I suppose this is what happens when you use the freedoms that President Hosni Mubarak has provided Egyptians. 

0115 GMT: Even at almost 4 in the morning, Cairo is still being rocked by the sounds of explosions. Multiple people in Cairo claim that they have heard several small explosions coming mostly from the center of the city. No confirmation existed as to what exactly is causing the explosions. 

0100: As chaotic as scenes have been in Cairo, Alexandria seems to have suffered an equal amount of damage. The Army just arrived in the city and were faced with the left-overs of what was the 28th of January - the carcasses of burnt out government buildings, police stations and the mess created by clashes between hundreds of thousands of protesters and riot police. 

2332 GMT: President Barack Obama just spoke live from the White House, addressing the turmoil in Egypt: 

He said that the White House had been been monitoring the the situation in Egypt. He called on Egyptian authorities to not use violence against its people. He also said that the Egyptian people have the right to free speech, assembly and association and to determine their own destiny. 

He asked the Egyptian government to remove the internet blockage and restrictions on social websites. He then asked the people of Egypt to not use violence and work towards their goals using peaceful means. He stressed that the United States has a close partnership with Egypt. But it is clear that there must be social, political and economic reforms that meet the Egyptian people's aspirations. 

He mentioned that he spoke to Mubarak and told him that he should deliver on his promises that he had made to the Egyptian people in his speech an hour ago. He also stressed that ultimately, the future of Egypt would be determined by the Egyptian people and that they wanted the same thing the people of the United States want: a better life and a just and responsive government.

He added that the US will be a partner in pursuit aspirations and will be working with the Egyptian government and people to secure their future. The president concluded by saying that the new generation in Egypt had the right to be heard and that the US will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and will work with Egyptian government in pursuit of a better future for them. 

2315 GMT: While we report on news from Egypt, what are the people inside the country saying about what's happening? True, internet has been mostly cut-off. But a few people have managed to keep themselves connected to the rest of the world. Twitter steps in to fill the void: 

DannyRamadan

More protesters are back in the streets shouting: Down with Mubarak. They are on the Corniche. 

20 protesters on Qasr al-Nil screaming: Ya Gamal 2ol la abook kol el-Sha3b bekrahook (Gamal, tell your father, people here hate you)

Cairo is taking couple of hours to sleep. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

I'm greatful for all the support I get from people and the tweets I'm getting from all across the globe. Keep the word out, people.

JRug 

I have been trying for hours to get a phone line out of Cairo. Hotel lobby filled with tear gas.

Tanks are rolling around central Cairo to no apparent purpose. Hundreds on freeways and underpasses watching.Museum still safe.

JonJensen

Most Egyptians I talked to in past 2 hours want to know - where are the police? Who is in control of Cairo tonight?

Downtown Cairo still reeks of tear gas. Shots ringing every few seconds near Parliament. Protesters set up roadblocks on Kasr el-Nil Bridge.

Police seem to have vanished. Troop carriers in Agouza, 15th May Bridge, mostly empty by look of it. Looting in Mohandesin.

Ssirgany

Again only demand in protests since Tuesday were for Mubarak to leave. Economic & political reforms were merely demands made before.

 

2306 GMT: The speech by President Hosni Mubarak moments ago has had no effect on the protests. Protesters remain in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other cities and still have not be dispersed. Many are continuing their anti-government chants and now directly asking Mubarak to step down. 

The main opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood just told Al Jazeera that Mubarak must step down and that it's time for the military to step in and remove him. 

2229 GMT: Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin says protesters outside his office in Cairo have resumed chanting, "Down, down, down with Mubarak".

2227 GMT: Mubarak says he has dissolved Government and will appoint new one tomorrow to ensure safety of Egypt.

And that is it.

Egypt Video: The Uprising of 28 January
A Poster for Today: "Walk Like an Egyptian"
Egypt in Pictures: The "War Zone" in Suez
Latest Egypt (and Beyond) Video: Thursday's Protests
Egypt (and Beyond) Thursday LiveBlog: A Day to Breathe?

2226 GMT: Mubarak says incidents of last few days have left "majority" of Egyptians "fearful". He will "shoulder first responsibility" to protect security and will not "let fear grip" citizens and "halt our future".

2225 GMT: Mubarak appealing to his sacrifice in service of Egypt and its citizens. Then he returns to promises of steps to deal with unemployment and low income.

2224 GMT: Mubarak linking economic progress to order and calls on people to resist "plots" that lead to looting and violence.

2220 GMT: Mubarak says he realises "aspirations" of Egyptian people to fight unemployment, poverty, and corruption. He recognises their suffering, but progress cannot come through violence.

2217 GMT: President Mubarak now speaking on TV....

He begins by saying that protests would not have occurred without freedoms and reforms that Egypt has been embracing under his rule.

But there is a "fine line between freedom and chaos", and Mubarak must defend Egypt order and security and not expose it to threats.

2210 GMT: We think this is what has just happened....

Speaker of Parliament Fathi Surour, who was supposed to give a televised "important" announcement tonight, has pulled back. Instead, he told Reuters that Egypt was in "safe hands" with President Mubarak.

The change is because Mubarak has decided to speak himself. Nile TV is reporting he will be on TV soon.

2155 GMT; Egyptian state TV has denied that private jets have departed from Cairo airport.

Al Jazeera has claimed that Egyptian businessmen and "prominent figures" had left in jets earlier tonight. And the BBC said within the last half-hour that three private jets left Cairo airport under heavy security.

2130 GMT: Lots of chatter about State TV announcement that Speaker of Parliament will speak soon on "important" matter.

Also much attention to Al Jazeeera news that Egyptian businessmen have been leaving from Cairo airport in private jets.

2125 GMT: Dima Khatib of Al Jazeera sends a message that the Egyptian Embassy in Venezuela has been taken over by a group of Egyptian and Arab protesters.

2110 GMT: It appears the Army is moving to protect the key points in Cairo, such as the Prime Minister's offices, the Parliament building, State Radio and TV, and the US and British Embassies.

2105 GMT: Ben Wedeman of CNN reports, "Saw boys with massive Seal of the Republic looted from State TV. If this isn't the end, it certainly looks and smells like it."

2055 GMT: Meanwhile, journalists in Tunis contact us with this information....

We witnessed this afternoon how police and plainclothes stormed the demonstrators' camp at Place de Kasbah with tear gas and dogs. Very ugly scenes.

Place de Kasbah since 1700 (1600 GMT) controlled by military, all tents and installations vandalised. Also clashes between demontsrators and police in Av. Bourguiba and centre of city. Lot of tear gas. Plainclothes with sticks all around as well as groups of enraged young demonstrators armed with stones and sticks. Atmosphere tense and unclear what is going to happen next.

Reuters has a brief reference to "police fir[ing] tear gas at anti-government protesters" but is far more concerned that "Islamists marched through central Tunis".

2050 GMT: More live shots from Al Jazeera English of protesters greeting Army units in streets of Cairo.

2045 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting that protesters stormed Vodafone HQ in Cairo & other cities around Egypt.

Earlier today, complying with a Government order, Vodafone disconnected mobile and Internet services.

2039 GMT: Al Jazeera is updating that 11 people have been killed in Suez today. Among 150 injured, 20 are in critical condition.

2030 GMT: Sayyid al-Badawi, the head of the opposition Wafd Party, says that Egypt needs a period of transitional rule, new parliamentary elections, and amendments to the Constitution so a president can stand for only two six-year terms.

2020 GMT: Another candidate for Picture of the Day. From one of the bridges in Cairo....

2015 GMT: Another loud explosion is heard in Cairo.

2014 GMT: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says that President Obama has not spoken with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak. Instead, the US Ambassador has been in touch with the Egyptian Government.

Gibbs also confirms earlier news that the US is reviewing its "assistance posture" towards Cairo. Earlier today, The Washington Post, drawing from an Administration official, said $1.5 billion in aid was being reconsidered.

2012 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting that Mubarak's presidential guard unit is heading towards the State TV builiding in Cairo.

All flights into and out of Cairo are now suspended.

2010 GMT: How did the protesters manage to get some security forces to side with them? Apparently, with love: 

2004 GMT: The Egyptian Day of Chaos continues. Now there are reports by AJE that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is on fire as well. The Egyptian Army Chief of Staff is returning from a trip to the US back to Egypt in light of the unrest. The protesters remain on the streets and have refused to budge. 

2000 GMT: A very touching story is developing in Cairo. As the NDP's headquarters burn, there were fears that the Egyptian National Museum, which houses some of the world's most ancient artifacts from the old Egyptian civilization and a beautiful collection of ancient whales fossils, would catch on fire too. There were earlier reports - albeit unconfirmed - that some people were looting the museum.

Now Al Jazeera is reporting that young protesters have formed a human chain around the museum to protect it against looting. It seems for now that this treasure trove of human ingenuity and the natural world's wonders is in no immediate danger.   

1955 GMT: Lina Attalah reports that there is a big fire in Tahrir Square in Cairo. We are still awaiting for President Hosni Mubarak to give the speech he promised a few hours ago. There is wide spread uncertainty right now as there is no word from the president's office after his party's headquarters were burnt down. 

1940 GMT: Al Jazeera English reporter just confirmed that there have been at least 5 people have been killed in Suez. That plus the one death in Egypt brings the total number of deaths in the protests today to six. 

1936 GMT: We are only now getting a good picture of how many people have been injured. Reports suggest hundreds of people have sustaiend wounds during clashes with security forces and as clashes continue, the numbers are likely to rise. 

Al Jazeera English just reported that hospitals in the country have been overwhelmed by the number of injured. 

1929 GMT: A picture's a thousand words - what about a thousand people in a picture? This image shows riot police using a water gun to disperse protesters in Cairo who are merely praying: 

1925 GMT: Conflicting reports on Al Jazeera and other news sources whether forces deployed by President Mubarak to disperse protesters is the Army or the National Guard, which is separate from the Army and numbers more than 20,000. 

1915 GMT: The US State Department has issued a travel warning for Egypt. 

...the Department of State urges U.S. citizens to defer non-essential travel to Egypt at this time and advises U.S. citizens currently in Egypt to defer non-essential movement and to exercise caution...

Are they willing to proclaim Egypt as unstable, at last?

1906 GMT: So far, there is no real confirmation of deaths except for one in Cairo. Some claim as many as six people have died in different parts of the country while others claim higher or lower numbers. Will update on this when we have more complete information. 

1905 GMT: Further confirmation of opposition leader Ayman Nour's injury. AJE reports that he's in the hospital and being treated for wounds he received during protests earlier. 

1900 GMT: There are unconfirmed reports that some protesters engaged in looting the National Museum of Egypt that is right next to the NDP's headquarters, which was looted and burnt down earlier. 

1846 GMT: Egypt Air has suspended all its flights for the next 12 hours. Other unconfirmed reports that in parts of Cairo, the police sided with protesters and resisted the army. 

Downtown Cairo is the scene of chaos right now with several buildings on fire - reports say.

1845 GMT: In Cairo, the ruling NDP's headquarters has been almost totally destroyed by the fire. Fire fighters are now trying to put out the flames after protesters destroyed the building. Reports suggest some protesters looted the building before it was set on fire. 

1840 GMT: Rowya Rageh of Al Jazeera - Live from Alexandria - just reported that Army tanks can be found on the streets and are being welcomed by the protesters. 

In the Sinai peninsula, tensions are rising in Sheikh Zuwayid where sporadic clashes continue. Unconfirmed reports suggest that some protesters have armed themselves and are fighting the security forces for control. Electricity to the city and most of the northern Sinai has been cut-off apparently. 

1825 GMT: Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera reports that flights into Cairo are being cancelled.

1815 GMT: Film director Khaled Youssef, interviewed now on Al Arabiya, has asked for the military to provide security for Egypt's National Museum. The museum is next to the ruling party NDP's headquarters, which are ablaze.

Youssef said he saw protestors hug military men and that a soldier allowed a demonstrator to climb onto a tank and raise the Egyptian flag.

1755 GMT: Al Jazeera report protestors have storm the NDP offices in Al-Fayoum Oasis.

1745 GMT: Al Jazeera correspondent in Suez reports live fire from police station towards Army position. It is unclear who was firing from the station.

The car showroom and businesses of a prominent Mubarak supporters are under attack.

1742 GMT: Army military vehicles moving towards Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Information, and State Radio and TV building. Protesters applaud as the vehicles appear.

State TV says the curfew is now nationwide.

Al Arabiya claims 410 people were injured today.

1739 GMT: Al Jazeera is highlighting how Egyptian state TV, while announcing the curfew, is confining itself to a skyline, "all is normal", shot of Cairo. This is juxtaposed next to Al Jazeera's images of the burning security vehicle near the 6 October Bridge.

1732 GMT: Security vehicles are being set alight near the 6 October Bridge in Cairo.

1729 GMT: Estimates of 80,000 protesters in Port Said today.

Tense scenes continue in Suez, with protesters gathering around Army vehicles. A second death in Suez, before the arrival of the Army, has been confirmed.

1728 GMT: Abbas Bridge has been overrun by protesters, setting several fires and pushing the police back.

1725 GMT: There are reports that protesters have tried to storm both the state television and radio building and the Foreign Ministry.

1708 GMT: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking now....

 

We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters, and we call on the Egyptian Goverment to do everything in its power to restrain the security forces. At the same time, protesters should also refrain from violence and express themselves peacefully....We support the universal human rights of the Egyptian people, including the right to freedom of speech, of association, and of assembly. We urge the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communications.

 

These protests underscore that there are deep grievances within Egyptian society and Egyptian Government needs to understand that violence will not make these grievances go away. As President Obama said yesterday, reform is absolutely critical to the well-being of Egypt.

Egypt has long been an important partner of the United States on a wide range of regional issues. As a partner, we strongly believe that the Egyptian Government needs to engage immediately with the Egyptian people in implementing needed economic, political, and social reforms. We continue to raise with the Egyptian Government --- as we do with other governments in the region --- the imperative for reform and greater openness and participation to provide a better future for all. We want to partner with the Egyptian people and their Government to realise their aspirations, to live in a democratic society that respects basic human rights.

 

1655 GMT: As protesters prayed near 6 October Bridge, a tear gas canister was lobbed near them. The prayers were concluded with "God is Great!", and a protester threw back the canister.

1640 GMT: Explosions continue in Cairo, but it is uncertain if live ammunition or rubber bullets are being used. Al Jazeera reports at least one police station is on fire and the gas tanks of some vehicles have exploded.

1635 GMT: Going over our coverage today, the one exaggerated report seems to be the "takeover" of Tahrir Square in the centre of Cairo by protesters, with police "retreating" to rooftops (see 1300 GMT).

While some protesters appear to have reached Tahrir Square and were confronted by tear gas --- with at least one killed --- it appears that the security forces have been able so far to prevent a mass gathering. There have been reports during the day, however, that various protests throughout Cairo have edged closer to the Square as well as taking over bridges on the Nile.

1629 GMT: In Algeria, the National Coordination for Change and Democracy has called for a national march on 12 February in Algiers. One of the main demands will be the lifting of the State of Emergency, imposed in 1992.

The NCCD is a coalition of political parties, associations, and human rights activists.

Demonstrations have been banned in the Algerian capital since June 2001. Last Saturday, a march of the opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy was contained by security forces.

1628 GMT: Loud explosions outside Al Jazeera's office near 6 October Bridge and the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.

1620 GMT: Al Jazeera is showing images of a fire consuming part of the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party in Cairo.

1614 GMT: Five army tanks are moving to center of Suez. Two police stations and dozens of police vehicles have been burnt.

1611 GMT: Live shots from streets of Alexandria of crowd defying curfew and shouting, "Illegitimate! Illegitimate!"

1606 GMT: The crowd on 6 October Bridge could not tip the police personnel carrier into the Nile, but it has been set on fire.

1600 GMT: Live images from Al Jazeera of a police personnel carrier being attacked by protesters. They are trying to knock it off the bridge and into the Nile.

The curfew has officially started.

1557 GMT: Al Jazeera passes on the news from Egyptian state television that President Mubarak has ordered the Army onto the streets of Cairo.

1555 GMT: Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin says he has been told of the death of a protester in Cairo, struck by a tear gas canister, by the person standing next to her.

1549 GMT: Police are retreating on 6 October Bridge in Egypt. Protesters, now very close to the security forces, are not throwing stones or committing any violence.

However, police are now on their way up to Al Jazeera's office overlooking the street. Protesters are now milling about on the bridge.

1539 GMT: Al Jazeera's Rawza Regeh cuts short a report from Alexandria, as she is escorted away from her vantage point by security.

1536 GMT: A resident of Damascus sends a message that Al Arabiya's report of a suspension of Internet services by Syrian authorities is false.

1534 GMT: With an apparent cease-fire in place, protesters pray in the middle of 6 October Bridge in Cairo.

1530 GMT: Live images from Al Jazeera --- a protester is approaching the riot police near 6 October Bridge in Cairo so they can organise a "cease-fire" for a prayer.

State security has just entered Al Jazeera's building, which has other media.

1527 GMT: State television is reporting a curfew from 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) until 7 a.m. in Cairo, Alexandria, Hilwan, and Suez.

1524 GMT: Latest reports from Cairo are that protesters are pushing back security officials in Abdel Menem Riyad Square and downtown.

Al Jazeera English is carrying live footage from outside their window, which is near 6 October Bridge, of the running battle between police --- using stun grenades and tear gas --- and protesters.

Reports claim, "Not a single security officer left in Alexandria", with up to 500,000 protesters forcing them out. Al Jazeera has reported arrests of the police who did not pull out.

1520 GMT: Al Jazeera and AFP are reporting that protestors have set Alexandria City Hall on fire.

.

Isra Jaheed, a spokeswoman for Mohamed ElBaradei, claims, "There are 100,000 protesters in front of Al Mansoura Governate office" in northeast Egypt.

1513 GMT: A stream of reports that, in the battle for Cairo's bridges, protesters have taken Galaa Bridge from police, burning and destroying police posts.

1509 GMT: Al Arabiya claims that Syrian authorities have suspended all Internet services.

1506 GMT: Al Jazeera Army has live shots of an Egyptian Army armoured vehicle coming near 6 October Bridge. Protesters have run up to greet the soldiers enthusiastically.

1504 GMT: Rawza Regeh in Alexandria for Al Jazeera, "The skyline is on fire from burning vehicles....I saw demonstrators carrying a bloodied body and chanting, 'There is no God but God.'"

1500 GMT: Al Arabiya reports that protesters have stormed the ruling party NDP's offices in Tanta, Egypt's 5th-largest city, 60 miles north of Cairo.

1458 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that "thousands" are protesting in front of Dahaqliya Governate offices in Mansoura in northeastern Egypt. Security forces not intervening.

1447 GMT: Rawza Regeh says it appears that security forces in Alexandria have lost contact with their commanders; she has not seen a single senior officer on the scene. Regeh says at least six police vehicles have been burnt by demonstrators.

1444 GMT: Al Jazeera earlier reported protesters burning armoured vehicles. They now carry pictures of one of them: 

1441 GMT: Al Jazeera confirms that protesters have burnt down the ruling NDP party's headquarters in Dumyat. There are now also reports that protesters have burnt down NDP offices in Al-Mansoura, we still have no confirmation. 

1440 GMT: Al Arabiya and other sources are claiming that the situation on 6th October Bridge in Cairo is still tense. People are still trying to wrest control of the key juncture from police and there are reports of a large fire. 

1438 GMT: More pictures of clashes in Egypt emerge from AJE: 

1436 GMT: We cannot confirm yet, but news reports suggest that the ruling NDP party's headquarters in Dumyat has been burnt down by protesters. 

1431 GMT: Al Jazeera now reporting that at least one protester has been killed in Suez. This comes amid unconfirmed reports that the protests are now spreading to other areas of Cairo, including rich neighborhoods. 

1427 GMT: As protests continue in Egypt, at thousands also took to streets in Jordan to demand the ouster of the government there. The Canadian Press reports:  

3,500 opposition activists from Jordan's main Islamist opposition group, trade unions and leftist organizations gathered in Amman's downtown, waving colorful banners reading: "Send the corrupt guys to court." The crowd denounced Prime Minister Samir Rifai's unpopular policies. Many shouted: "Rifai go away, prices are on fire and so are the Jordanians."

 

Another 2,500 people also took to the streets in six other cities across the country after the noon prayers. Those protests also called for Rifai's ouster.

This is the third time in as many weeks that Jordanians have taken to streets to demand the resignation of Rifai. 

1424 GMT: Al Jazeera Arabic reporting now that protesters have taken control of streets in the strategic town of Suez and burnt at least three armoured vehicles. 

Meanwhile Al Arabiya reports that protesters have stormed the ruling party's headquarters in the city of Tanta.

1422 GMT: There are reports that Al Jazeera English's feed from inside Egypt is being shut down or has been shut down. We cannot confirm this as of yet. 

1418 GMT: AJE reports that a police station in Mahalla, in the Nile Delta, has been attacked. Meanwhile, Fitch Ratigns Agency has downgraded Egypt's credit rating from 'stable' to 'negative'. 

1415 GMT: In Suez, the center of the city has been abandoned by security forces to be taken over by protesters. 

1412 GMT: AJE reporter Jane Dutton claims, "Cairo seems to be like a war zone at the moment." She adds that many protesters have been injured, including opposition leader Ayman Nour and that police are trying to hard to keep protesters from Tahrir Square. 

AJE reporter claims tear gas fired in at least 10 locations in Alexandria where there is a crowd of 100,000 gathered. 

1408 GMT: Al Jazeera Live: "Still "raining down tear gas indiscriminately" ---- Live shot of policeman firing tear gas canister from armoured vehicle. Crowd cheers when a protester throws the canister back."

Meanwhile @SultanAlQassemi tweets: Egypt State TV quotes security official: We urge citizens not to believe media exaggerations about situation in Egypt.

1406 GMT: Have the crowds managed to secure the support of security forces? Adam Makary tweets: 

LIVE: AlJazeera English Alexandria correspondents: Riot police and protesters appear to sympathize with each other at one protest.

1400 GMT: Al Jazeera English reports that the 6th October has finally been cleared of protesters. AJE reporter Ayman Mohyeldin reports that some protesters are trying to hide under the bridge to escape the tear gas while several others have passed out because of its effects. One shot nearly hit AJE reporter. 

1355 GMT: Scattered reports from Egypt suggest that another protest is in progress in the coastal town of Port Said with thousands marching against the government. We cannot independently confirm this yet. 

1335 GMT: The live shots show protesters push back with stones and at least one Molotov cocktail at the armoured vehicle and riot police gathered on the eastern end of 6 October bridge.

1333 GMT: Al Jazeera shows live shots of police firing tear gas and water cannon toward protesters on 6 October bridge. This comes after police took over the Qasr el-Nil bridge with the same tactics.

Suddenly, an armoured police vehicle forces protesters to run along the bridge. One demonstrator carries what appears to be an injured colleague.

1332 GMT: Jamal Elshayyal of Al Jazeera confirms his earlier reporter that protesters have taken over the centre of Suez, freeing detainees from the police station and burning police vehicles.

Protesters say that security forces escalated the situation by trying to run them over with a fire engine earlier today. Elshayyal also notes that the ban on communications by the regime may have backfired, as people took to the streets for information.

1330 GMT: Al Masry Al Youm is claiming that police have retaken Qasr al-Nil Bridge, forcing protesters to Opera Square with water cannons at close range as well as rubber bullets and tear gas.

1324 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting that a woman was killed by tear gas in Tahrir Square in Cairo. "Tens of others" have been injured.

The protesters in the square held a public prayer, followed by a mass "Amen".

1319 GMT: The son of Ayman Nour, the prominent opposition leader, says his father is in intensive care. Nour was hit in the head, as he was praying at a mosque, by a rock thrown by a "thug" affiliated with security forces.

Nour's son said the atmosphere at the mosque was "intimidating" with the plainclothes "thugs" armed with steel bars, as well as the official security forces.

1315 GMT: Al Jazeera showing images of lines of protesters praying in the street while, behind them, smoke rises from a police kiosk burning on one of Cairo's major bridges.

1312 GMT: From Alexandria, Al Jazeera's Rawza Regeh reports a "huge fire" with ambulances and fire engines moving to and from the scene.

1310 GMT: From Suez, the Al Jazeera correspondent reports protesters have taken over the police station and freed detainees.

Three armoured vehicles were set alight, with other protesters trying to put out the fires.

Al Jazeera images show police being overwhelmed by demonstrators.

1305 GMT: On Al Jazeera, Mostafa Al Fekki, the head of the People's Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee, "My heart pains me to see these protests, I hope Mubarak intervenes personally."

1300 GMT: From Cairo, "20,000 protesters take over Qasr al-Nil Bridge".

And now this: "Tahrir [Square] is mysteriously emptied of police is now filling with protesters. Police taking to the rooftops" to fire tear gas. Two police cars are reportedly burnt, and casualties are claimed.

1255 GMT: Al Arabiya reports that protesters have stormed the headquarters of the ruling party NDP in Damietta. Unconfirmed reports that NDP headquarters have been taken over in Mansoura.

Earlier today, protesters reportedly stormed the NDP headquarters in Ismailia (see 1213 GMT).

1250 GMT: Al Jazeera reports 40,000 marching in a suburb north of Cairo.

A police vehicle has been torched in Abdul Menem Riyad square in central Cairo.

1247 GMT: Latest news is that "many people", including Mohamed ElBaradei, are still "holed up" in a mosque in Giza, "under siege" by security forces.

1245 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting that police units have refused orders to fire tear gas bombs at protesters in Alexandria.

1235 GMT: Al Jazeera's corrspondent in Suez says that, as protesters began a peaceful march, security forces tried "to run them over" with a fire engine. However, the fire engine was forced to veer off the stree because of garbage cans put across the road, and it was "almost destroyed" in minutes by demonstrators throwing stones.

Al Jazeera images show many thousands on the streets, with police struggling to hold their line.

The correspodent continues that two "security officials" have been suspended for refusing to authorise live fire against protesters in Suez last night.

1229 GMT: Al Masry Al Youm journalist Ahmad Ali on BBC Arabic estimates that the number of protesters in Alexandria has reached 100,000.

1227 GMT: Egyptian state TV Channel 1 is now reporting on the protests.

1225 GMT: Screen-shot from Al Arabiya:

1221 GMT: Al Jazeera showing images of "organised chaos" across Cairo with armoured vehicles moving firing (rubber bullets?) amidst large crowds.

1220 GMT: Vodafone's statement on the communications cut-off, "All mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it. The Egyptian authorities will be clarifying the situation in due course."

1215 GMT: Rawya Regeh says skirmishes continuing on side streets in Alexandria. She says demonstrators tore down posters of President Mubarak's son Gamel, which had been put up by pro-Government businessmen, as they chanted, "We do not want him!"

1213 GMT: BBC Arabic says protesters have stormed the ruling NDP party headquarters in Ismailiya and destroyed the contents.

1210 GMT: More reports of a police battle against journalists (see 1150 GMT) --- the cameras of CNN and a German TV crew were smashed. Ben Wedeman of CNN says later, "Six or seven big guys" seized the camera and threatened to beat up him and his crew.

1209 GMT: Daily News Egypt reports, "Peaceful protest of at least 2,000 in Maadi on agricultural road heading towards Dar El Salam, no visible security presence."

1203 GMT: Clarification on Mohamed ElBaradei --- he has not been formally arrested, but is being held in a mosque in Giza, probably to prevent him from joining protests.

1202 GMT: A British TV reporter from Cairo, "Crowd growing and regrouping on freeway next to Mubarak party HQ chanting 'People want democracy'."

1158 GMT: Al Jazeera's Rawza Rageh from Alexandria says both protesters and police are trying to push each other onto side streets.

1153 GMT: Reports indicate Osama Ghazali Harb, the leader of the Democratic Front Party, was arrested with Mohamed ElBaradei.

A report via Twitter clarifies, "I am being told El Baradei is not arrested, just stopped from moving anywhere, not sure about the technicalities."

1150 GMT: BBC Arabic reporter Asadullah Al Sawi has been injured by an undercover policeman in civilian clothing in Cairo. Al Jazeera reports one of its reporters, Ahmad Mansour, has also been beaten.

Four French reporters are reportedly detained.

Al Jazeera's office landlines have been suspended.

1148 GMT: Al Jazeera English showing live shots of a crowd on th3 6 October bridge in Cairo as tear gas is fired in the area.

1146 GMT: Al Jazeera English says there are reports that Mohamed ElBaradei has been arrested.

1144 GMT: Protesters are now arriving at Tahrir Square in Cairo:

Al Jazeera English is now showing live shots of large marches.

1140 GMT: A reporter for Britain's Channel 4 sends the message, "Riot police holding back crowd of a few hundred next to Cairo archaeological museum....Crowd is chanting 'One, two, where is our money?' and singing Egyptian national anthem."

1138 GMT: Reports of protests in Shobra area of Cairo and in Arish area of Sinai. Also a claim by Al Jazeera that Egyptian protesters have gathered near a Cairo residential palace of President Hosni Mubarak.

Protests are reported for the first time in the Nasr City area of Cairo. Al Arabiya says downtown Cairo --- where security forces have locked down Tahrir Square --- is now "surrounded by protests".

1135 GMT: Reports of clashes between thousands of protesters in Mansoura and police.

1131 GMT: Jack Shenker of The Guardian has posted an audio report of police in Cairo using tear gas, sound bombs, and water cannon on thousands of protesters with Mohammed ElBaradei.

Shenker says the streets are now a "war zone" and residents are helping protesters by giving them water. He said he believes ElBaradei got out of the area but is not sure.

1129 GMT: Al Jazeera from Suez, "Protests in Martyrs Street, Army Street, & Hamza mosque. All trying to get to al Arbaeen area."

Also a report of thousands in Damietta in northern Egypt chanting, " Mubarak must leave!"

1125 GMT: First-hand from Cairo, "The street is filled, we cannot see the pavement. Chanting "Mubarak has to leave."

1120 GMT: Egyptian police are now reportedly firing rubber bullets as well as tear gas.

Thousands are protesting in Sharqiya and clashing with security forces.Demonstrations also reported in Suez, Ismailia, and other cities.

1119 GMT: Al Jazeera claims 20,000 protesters are at the Al Azhar Mosque protest in Cairo.

An Al Jazeera English reporter, Rawya Rageh, is amongst those tear-gassed in Alexandria outside the Qaed Ibrahim Mosque. She is choking through her report but describes "incredible scenes".

1115 GMT: Police are tear-gassing protesters in Alexandria.

Al Jazeera reports thousands are protesting in front of main mosque at Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt.

1110 GMT: Nic Robertson of CNN, Several hundred riot police w/ sticks [and] rubber bullet guns surround central mosque. Crowd 500-1000 in street outside. Both sides tense [and] nervous."

1105 GMT: Protests have erupted at Al-Azhar Mosque against the regime. Police are using water cannons against the protestors, who are throwing rocks and raising banners "Down with Dictatorship" and "End Corruption".

1105 GMT: Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live Channel) has been showing chants from Egyptian protestors, "Tell us, officer, how much do they pay you to suppress us?" and "This is a govt of "Hishek Bishek(jokers)."

The channel has now been taken off the Egyptian-controlled NileSat.

1059 GMT: It is reported that Mohamed ElBaradei (see 1009 GMT) performed Friday prayers in a public space in Cairo alongside 2000 worshipers.

1055 GMT: Reports coming in that security forces are intimidating journalists, "chasing reporters all over Cairo" and preventing others from getting in at the airports.

1050 GMT: The Guardian passes on this message, "Security forces blocking the road between Ismailia and Suez and the road to the strategic Tahir Square and the local metro stating have been closed for the day. Security has been deployed in the Al Haram neighborhood."

1045 GMT: The reaction via Twitter of the State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley to this morning's news, "We are concerned that communication services, including the Internet, social media and even this #tweet, are being blocked in #Egypt."

1040 GMT: This was the message in the nationally-televised sermon from Dr Abdul Samad Al Saeedi:

 

We must thank those who provide us with security, those who disrupt peace are corrupting....Don't allow yourselves to be corrupted by others, if you made a mistake repent....It is forbidden to spill the blood of another Muslim.

 

1035 GMT: Omar Makram Mosque in Tahrir Square in Cairo is reportedly closed and surrounded by police trucks.

1030 GMT: Retired General Rachid Benyelles, former Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defense and a Presidential candidate in 2004, says President Abdulaziz Bouteflika "is not aware of the danger for Algeria".

1025 GMT: Dina Simak of Al Jazeera says 4000 security reinforcements arrived in Suez last night. And in Cairo, 26 security force trucks are now in Tahrir Square.

1010 GMT: Al Jazeera report that Belhassan Trabelsi, the brother-in-law of deposed Tunisian President Ben Ali, has been arrested in Canada.

We noted earlier (0820 GMT) that Trabelsi had been stripped of permanent residency by the Canadian authorities. He is reportedly in a Montreal hotel with his family.

1009 GMT: Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the National Association for Change, declared this morning, "I'm sending a message...to the world that Egypt is being isolated by a regime on its last legs."

ElBaradei, who returned to Cairo last night from Vienna, continued, "Egypt today is one big prison. If the international community does not speak out it will have a lot of implications. We are fighting for universal values here. If the west is not going to speak out now, then when?"

1008 GMT: Friday Prayers have started in Egypt.

0950 GMT: Daily News Egypt video journalist Mohamed Effat is still detained.

0945 GMT: The influential Islamic scholar and televangelist Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi has issued a fatwa that it is forbidden in Islam to shoot at protestors.

0945 GMT: An Egyptian grandmother tells BBC Arabic Radio, "I am encouraging my family to protest. I will be proud of them."

0935 GMT: A report from Mansoura in northeast Egypt, "Etisalat mobile service down, Vodafone up, Internet cut off."

0910 GMT: Al Masry Al Youm reports that Friday prayers in Egypt today will uphold freedom of expression but call on all to "to avoid conflict and discord, dissent, ...and vandalism and destruction".

0900 GMT: Tim Marshall of Britain's Sky News reports, "Riot police now turning up in force at Tahrir Sq. They had been absent for two days."

And this: "Several hundred riot police and 8 riot trucks just turned up in street next to Tahrir Sq."

Tahrir (Liberation) Square is next to the Egyptian Parliament and many ministries. It was the site of Tuesday night's dramatic mass gathering.

0849 GMT: An Obama Administration official summarises the US Government's position on protests in the Arab world. The approach had been to stand by allies and support "reform, but evolutionary reform", but now the question is "Do we favor changes that are quicker, but maybe a lot riskier?"

0845 GMT: Sources in Egypt say Mobinil, Egypt's largest mobile phone network, is now completely shut down.

0840 GMT: Sudarsan Raghavan, writing for The Washington Post, summarises Thursday's protests by "thousands"(see our updates) in Yemen calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

0835 GMT: The English-language site of Egypt's Ahram Online is down.

The websites of Al Masry Al Youm are still "live". The lead story on the Arabic-language site is on the clashes in Suez.

0820 GMT: Canada has stripped Belhassen Trabelsi, brother-in-law of former Tunisian President Ben Ali, of his permanent residency.

 

Trabelsi could now be extradited to Tunisia to face fraud charges after millions of dollars were allegedly taken out of the country. He, his wife, four children, a nanny, and two bodyguards are reportedly staying at Chateau Vaudreuil, a hotel in Montreal’s West End.

 

Earlier this week Tunisia asked for international arrest warrants for President Ben Ali and members of his family.

0814 GMT: In Tunisia, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannounchi announced a reshuffle of the Cabinet last night.

The Ministers of Defense, Interior, and Finance, all of whom had served under ousted President Ben Ali, and eight other Cabinet members have been replaced. Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane had resigned hours before Ghannouchi's announcement.

Former opposition leaders Ahmed Najib Chebbi and Ahmed Ibrahim have retained their posts at Regional Development and Higher Education, respectively.

0810 GMT: Reuters summarises the round-up of members of the Muslim Brotherhood including at least eight senior leaders, by Egyptian authorities.

Spokesmen Essam El-Erian, Mohamed Mursi, and Hamdy Hassan are among those held. A security source confirmed that there were orders to sweep up Brotherhood activists in advance of protests today.

0803 GMT: The Atlantic publishes an English translation of parts of the 26-page "Action Plan" disseminated to protesters for today in Egypt.

0755 GMT: The Associated Press offers a good overview of the attempt by Egyptian authorities to cut communications, "The Day Part of the Internet Died".

The article matches what we are hearing this morning: in addition to the Noor Group loophole for Internet service, satellite phones (and thus SMS messages) are operating.

0725 GMT: We can confirm that EA is being reached by Egyptians with access via the Noor Group service.

0713 GMT: A bit of confirmation in the conversation with an Egyptian just before the blackout (see 0705 GMT)....

"Thousands of protestors started marching from al Haram in Giza near the pyramids towards Tahrir square—it’s a very long walk....There were more than a thousand protestors at Ramses square."

0710 GMT: Seeing the Internet cutoff in Egypt:

0705 GMT: Parvez Sharma writes of a phone conversation with his friend Negma just before she, like all Egyptians, was cut off from communications. The entire entry is worth reading, but here's a sharp extract:

 

My friend Negma’s checklist from a few hours ago is simple. It will also probably be life saving.

 

Vinegar for tear gas. Check
Gauze. Check
Gloves. Check
Headscarves to cover face. Check
Bandages. Check
Sunglasses/Goggles. Check

Negma will head out in a few hours to the Omar Makram mosque in downtown Cairo. The mosque is just off the now famous Tahrir Square. She has not been to a mosque in years and neither have her many Zamalek girlfriends who will be joining her with all of the supplies they have been collecting in the last 48 hours. They know they are not alone and will be joining thousands.

 

0640 GMT: An observer notes, "It is extremely important that Noor DSL and the Noor ISP is not attacked. It is the last free standing point of access."

A technical analysis, picked up by Josh Shahryar in our early-morning updates, offered a reason why the Egyptian authorities may have left this gap in their blackout: 

One of the very few exceptions to this block has been Noor Group (AS20928), which still has 83 out of 83 live routes to its Egyptian customers, with inbound transit from Telecom Italia as usual. Why was Noor Group apparently unaffected by the countrywide takedown order? Unknown at this point, but we observe that the Egyptian Stock Exchange (www.egyptse.com) is still alive at a Noor address.

....Did the Egyptian government leave Noor standing so that the markets could open next week?

But another observer dismisses the theory, "Egyptian Stock Exchange does NOT trade on Fridays."

My naive follow-up (readers, feel free to help): how does the Egyptian Government maintain its communications, including quick responses to any protest, during an Internet shutdown?

0550 GMT: Line of the day (so far) comes from an activist on Twitter, "The only thing they've left to do is slaughter messenger pigeons."

0545 GMT: About five hours ago, we got confirmation of the possible significance of this Friday in Egypt. The Government has tried to shut down all Internet services in the country: no Internet, no instant messaging, no Facebook, no Twitter.

(A point of comparison: not even the Iranian regime, at the height of the challenge on the streets to its legitimacy, took such a step. It slowed down the Net to hinder communications and to try to monitor activists, but it never carried out a shutdown.)

Direct sources from Egypt are limited now; however, some news is still emerging. A ham radio operator notes, "Wow, the Egyptian radio waves are packed." Another report is that Internet is still available at 5-star hotels.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« A Poster for Today: "Walk Like an Egyptian" | Main | US Politics: "Cooling Saucer" or "Tar Pit"? The Filibuster Continues in the Senate »

References (7)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: get pregnant fast
    [...]EA WorldView - Home - Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Black Hole or Another Day of Revolution[...]
  • Response
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Black Hole or Another Day of Revolution
  • Response
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Black Hole or Another Day of Revolution
  • Response
    Response: backlinks genius
    Amazing page, Maintain the great work. Many thanks!
  • Response
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Black Hole or Another Day of Revolution
  • Response
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Black Hole or Another Day of Revolution
  • Response
    Response: dumpsters
    EA WorldView - Home - Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Black Hole or Another Day of Revolution

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>