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Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Restoring Order?

0615 GMT: Here's the sign that we have moved from Sunday into Monday --- a Cairo observer reports, "Good morning. I could still hear chanting at 4AM. I could still hear chanting at 8AM. People are roaming Tahrir square now."

A BBC correspondent reports "small numbers" of police on the streets of Cairo.

0600 GMT: Laura Rozen of Politico gives some insight into how the US Administration is now doing crisis management on Egypt:

The National Security Council's top Middle East hands Dennis Ross and Dan Shapiro met with...the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Michele Dunne, a former NSC and State Department Policy Planning official, and the Brookings Institution's Robert Kagan, who co-chair a bipartisan working group on November to discuss the issue (at a stuck moment of the peace process which has remained stuck), and other democracy and human rights specialists in the administration, including the NSC's Samantha Power and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East democracy issues Tamara Wittes, have frequently met with them. But the regional advisors' priorities mattered most, advocates believed, and to a great extent, much of their focus (as for that of the principals above them, and indeed, the wider policy community and media) has been on the peace process, and looking at Egypt through the prism of its role in supporting the peace process.

Just got late word that Dunne, Kagan and others from their group including former Bush NSC Middle East hand Elliott Abrams, as well as George Washington University Middle East expert Marc Lynch, have been invited to the White House Monday.

The news of this "think tank", with names such as Abrams and Kagan as well as Ross's leadership of the group, does not fill me with confidence.

0440 GMT: President Mubarak has a new idea to send the protesters home. Al Jazeera reports

"I require you to bring back confidence in our economy," Mubarak said in a letter to Shafiq, read on TV on Sunday. "I trust your ability to implement economic policies that accord the highest concern to people's suffering. I stress that subsidy provisions in their different forms must not be tampered with and that your government just challenge all forms of corruption," Mubarak said.

Will it work? Tahrir Square is still packed with protesters. 

0435 GMT: While protests continue in Egypt, the people have a new problem: shortage of food.  CNN reports that people are finding it hard to get groceries because of the ongoing curfews and protests that have effectively paralyzed the country's food industries. The government is doing little to help. Nile TV has set up a hotline for citizens to report food shortages. 

0054 GMT: Partially confirmed reports suggest that President Mubarak has asked his newly-appointed prime minister Ahmad Shafik to open dialogue with the opposition. 

2345 GMT: Israeli officials claim that 'possibly' dozens of Hamas detainees who managed to escape from Egyptian jails during the upheaval have crossed into Gaza using underground tunnels used for smuggling goods into the territory. 

2315 GMT: The Economist has headlines from Egypt's major newspapers today: 

Independent daily Al Masry Al Youm

"Conspiracy amid security forces to support chaos"

Opposition Wafd Party's Daily Wafd

"Egypt faces the unknown"

 "suspicious disappearance of police spurs thugs to loot houses and shops"

Another independent daily El Shorouk: 

"The people advance as Mubarak starts his retreat"

And what about newspapers that support the government?

Al Ahram:

"Omar Suleiman for vice president and Ahmed Shafiq prime minster"

"armed-forces trucks push to secure areas and demand that curfew be observed." 


"Omar Suleiman Vice President", "President Mubarak picks Ahmed Shafiq to form a new government"

"Ahmed Ezz is out, Nazif breaks down in tears after government is fired."

2230 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that the U.S. State Department is making plans to evacuate American citizens from Egypt. 

2225 GMT: Timour Chafik reports this on the damage caused by thousands of prisoners that have escaped from Egyptian prisons: 

GermanTV: freed prisoners looting & blocking Desert Road fr Alexandria 2. Germans fr Alex couldnt reach cairo-airport.  

2135 GMT: Unrest in Alexandria continues. Nic Robertson of CNN tweets

Army APC racing thru streets, chasing vigalantes on foot chasing a car.

Heavy machine gunfire erupts over Alex center as roaming groups of men throw rocks at passing vehicles

Streets of Alexandria tense amid very fluid security situation

2125 GMT: Good job, Mubarak! The protests have calmed down and Egypt is back to normal. At least that's what Saudi TV station Channel 905 says. Watch the video in Arabic and the shots of Cairo that show normalcy and calm: 


2115 GMT: In Cairo, Al Jazeera reports that protesters in Tahrir Square have built campfires and spending the night getting to know one another.  In Alexandria, the network reports the number of protesters from today's protests exceeding150,000

2110 GMT: Evidence keeps piling up that the Egyptian government is behind the deliberate acts of violence that are being blamed on protesters to give the world a distorted view of what's happening. Issandr El Amrani blogs: 

I just got a call from an eyewitness to a situation near my neighborhood. The person is a member of one of the Popular Committees (the citizen's watch groups protecting streets) in Mounira, a middle class central Cairo area. This morning around 6:30am a car drove up the street leading from Qasr al-Aini St. to Saad Zaghloul metro station. The citizen watch didn't let them go through at first, but then they showed them their State Security IDs, so they were allowed to pass. At the end of the street they stopped, opened the rear of the vehicle and dumped a body out. The citizen watch people ran towards them, and the State Security fired a few shots before getting back into the car. Another car sped in the Citizen Watch's direction and hit two of them companions before fleeing. When the neighborhood people reached the body, they saw it was a dead man who had been shot in the stomach. He is unidentified and the body been taken to Mounira's hospital.

A note on this: there have been widespread reports of security forces being involved in the looting and violence that has taken place. This is one of the many incidents I have heard about. No doubt we'll hear of more.

2107 GMT: Nolanjazeera of Al Jazeera reports on Twitter:

Volleys of gunfire ringing out over  right now. Sounds like area near Interior Ministry? Another sleepless night for 

Meanwhile, protesters' numbers have dwindled in Tahrir Square as night falls, but their presence continues even though another curfew has been imposed like the past days. 

2045 GMT: Opposition leader Ayman Nour has a message for President Hosni Mubarak: step down. In an interview with Al Jazeera English, Nour said that they will negotiate with the Army and the opposition, but that Mubarak had to leave the government. He further said: 

We have presented a plan for a 10 member committee which includes Mr. ElBaradei, Abu Eliz and myself. ...Mubarak must step down. We will call on the army to stand with the people against the tyrant without assuming a political role. ...Mubarak must step down. We will call on the army to stand with the people against the tyrant without assuming a political role. ...We're not talking about a military coup. Simply that the army should stand with the people in its capacity as protector.

1955 GMT: President Obama, in calls to foreign leaders, has said he supports an "orderly transition" in Egypt to a government responsive to the people.

1945 GMT: The curfew on Monday will be from 3 p.m. to 8 a.m.

A member of the ruling NDP told Al Jazeera, "Millions and millions of Egyptians want Mubarak to stay, they don't need to come out on the street".

Several police stations have been torched in Alexandria amid anti-government protests. There were a lack of firefighters to deal with the burning buildings.

1845 GMT: Journalist Sharif Kouddous, returning from Tahrir Square in Cairo: " I have walked though no less than 10 checkpoints and still not home. Pretty sure our house is safe."

1840 GMT: A video of the demonstration in Khartoum in Sudan (see 1530 GMT), demanding the resignation of the Government, today:

1830 GMT: Al Masry Al Youm says Mohamed Tantawi, Egypt's Minister of Defense and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has been seen with the protesters in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo.

1819 GMT: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is facing growing protest from his population, called Egyptian President Mubarak on Saturday to offer support.

In contrast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Mubarak on Sunday to respond to demands for reform, ensuring that security forces refrain from using violence. She also asked Mubarak to guarantee freedom of information.

1815 GMT: In the gathering of hundreds of thousands at Tahrir Square in Cairo, protesters have spelled “Down with Mubarak” with their bodies.

1810 GMT: The Los Angeles Times has more on the return of Rached Ghannouchi, the head of the al-Nahda Party, to Tunisia today after more than 20 years in forced exile.

1745 GMT: Amidst developments in Egypt, we did not notice that more than 10,000 protesters marched against authorities in Algeria's northeastern city of Bejaia on Saturday, the largest rally in the country since the uprising in neighbouring Tunisia in mid-December.

Demonstrators marched peacefully in the city in Algeria's Berber-speaking Kabylie region, shouting, "For a radical change of the regime!"

The rally was organised by the opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy. It was conducted peacefully amidst a heavy police presence.

A coalition of opposition groups have called for a march in the capital, Algiers, on 12 February.

And in Lebanon, several hundred activists marched through Beirut on Sunday to protest the indifference of leaders to the economic and social woes of working people.

A student at the Lebanese Univerity said, "In Tunisia and Egypt, they had just one dictator. We have 15 or 16."

1735 GMT: An Al Jazeera reporter says Mohamed ElBaradei was not feeling well and had to leave Tahrir Square without giving a speech beyond his brief statement to an audience around him.

1725 GMT: "Sources" tell Al Jazeera that Egyptian police will return to all areas of Cairo tomorrow except for Tahrir Square.

1655 GMT: Mohamed ElBaradei has told surrounding people --- VIP access for journalists --- in Tahrir Square, "What we have begun cannot go back.... we have one main demand: the ousting of this regime & the beginning of a new era."

Al Jazeera English juxtaposes shots of Tahrir Square with Egyptian State TV's image of an empty street in Cairo.

1630 GMT: Witnesses say Mohamed ElBaradei is now at the protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

1620 GMT: A resident of a section of Cairo writes, Went around Dokki on bike. Atmosphere less nervous in the streets. People's patrols are everywhere."

1600 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that there are massive protests in Alexandria, Mahalla, Mansoura, Suez, and Ismailia in addition to Cairo.

The channel confirms information that opposition groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and the 6 April Movement, have endorsed Mohamed ElBaradei to lead the challenge to the Government. Its correspondent says ElBaradei will be joining the Tahrir Square protest within 30 minutes.

1535 GMT: Call to prayer in Tahrir Square in Cairo. An observer notes, "Faithful kneeling and bowing, secular walking but keeping quiet."

1530 GMT: Hundreds of Sudanese riot police, using tear gas, have beaten and arrested students during protests throughout Khartoum demanding the resignation of the government.

Police beat students with batons as they chanted "We are ready to die for Sudan" and "Revolution, revolution until victory".

1520 GMT: Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the National Association for Change, to CNN, "If the Egyptian people want me to serve as a bridge from authoritarianism to democracy I will not let them down."

ElBaradei is also assuring his American audience that Egypt 2011 is not Iran 1979 and "The myth about the Muslim Brotherhood has been perpetuated by the regime."

1515 GMT: Opposition leader Ayman Nour, who was hospitalised on Friday after being hit by a rock thrown by a plainclothesman linked to the security forces, was at a meeting of activists today.

1505 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that 100,000 protesters in the northern Egyptian city of Mansoura (population: 1 million) are chanting against Mubarak now.

1500 GMT: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told a series of talk shows, "We want to see free and fair elections and we expect that this will be one of the outcomes of what is going on".

Clinton stopped short, however, of asking President Mubarak to step down:


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.


1455 GMT: The chant in Tahrir Square now, "Mubara has lost his mind."

1448 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that the head of the Army has assured the crowd that the military will not move against them.

1443 GMT: A helicopter is looping back low over the crowd in Tahrir Square in Cairo before heading off down the Nile. Protesters on the ground are trying to spell out a message with their bodies on the ground. They chant, "The people want the end of the regime."

1420 GMT: The scene in Tahrir Square in Cairo:

1405 GMT: Two fighter jets have flown low over Tahrir Square, where at least 150,000 are gathered, according to one account. The protesters' response? "LEAVE".

Another chant: "Where is the media?" As a helicopter hovers overhead, the protesters wave and hold up victory signs.

1350 GMT: State TV presenters and their guests are calling on protesters to stop watching Al Jazeera. Presenters are repeatedly telling viewers to obey the curfew or "face the consequences".

1305 GMT: Al Jazeera now estimates more than 150,000 people are in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

1255 GMT: Apparently Reuters has banned Al Jazeera from using its footage from Egypt.


1235 GMT: Egyptian Minister of Defense Mohamed Hussein Tantawi has appeared on State TV, asking citizens to adhere to the 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. curfew.

The call comes as thousands are pouring into Tahrir Square in Cairo less than 90 minutes before the curfew begins.

1220 GMT: In Tunisia, more than 1000 people have greeted Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the al-Nahad Party, as he returned from exile in Britain.

Al-Nahda was the strongest opposition force in Tunisia before Ghannouchi was forced out of the country in 1989.

Our partner Thomas v. der Osten-Sacken reports that there was a small counter-demonstration.

1205 GMT: Dan Nolan of Al Jazeera continues to tweet on the raid by security forces on the channel's offices in Cairo. It appears that authorities have been upset by broadcast of footage of bodies from a Cairo morgue.

1158 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that hundreds of judges have joined the thousands protesting in Tahrir Square.

1155 GMT: Egyptian TV has shown footage of President Mubarak with senior leaders, including new Vice President Omar Suleiman and the Minister of Defense, and the President's visit to a military headquarters.

1148 GMT: Al Jazeera reports the Egyptian Parliament's session has been cancelled today due to lack of quorum.

1145 GMT: And it happened. Dan Nolan just reported that Al Jazeera's Cairo Bureau was just shut down by government plain clothesmen. The TV uplink has been closed. 

1135 GMT: Dan Nolan of Al Jazeera tweets

AlJazeera crew leave Suez as no longer safe to be there. Direct threats made against jazeera. Unsure where anger originating? Thugs?

1130 GMT: Al Jazeera just had  this bit regarding outside reactions to Egypt. The leaders of Germany, France and the UK - Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron - released a joint statement saying that the Egyptian people have legitimate grivances and that President Hosni Mubarak should embark on a process of transformation.

However, none of them showed the courage that the Italian government did by releasing a statement that say that Italy hopes that through open democracy - yes, you heard them right, democracy - and reform, Egypt will quickly return to stability. 

This is the first time since the protests started that a Western government has used the word democracy as something that Egypt needed to resolve its problems even though protesters have been screaming about it for days. So far, everyone else has been using the words 'stability' and 'reform'. 

1122 GMT: Al Jazeera released a new casualty count for the protests so far in the past few days: 150 killed, 4,000 injured. 

1105 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that hundreds of protestors have clashed with security forces outside the headquarters of the ruling party NDP in Assiut Province in upper Egypt south of Cairo.

1100 GMT: Al Jazeera Arabic is now off-air in Egypt.

1055 GMT: Al Arabiya says officers in Qatta Prison near Cairo have fired at prisoners and their families, killing 170 and injuring 200.

1050 GMT: A Muslim Brotherhood official says 34 members were arrested on Friday but were released by protesters from a detention facility in the 6 October section of Cairo. Leaders Mohamed Morsi and Issam El Eryan were among those freed.

1045 GMT: A picture of Army and protesters from Saturday:

1039 GMT: Confirmation that thousands of prisoners have fled from Wadi El Natrun jail north of Cairo. Eight inmates died in the breakout.

1035 GMT: Lyse Doucet of the BBC from Cairo, "Army now checking everyone entering Tahrir Square. Long queues forming. Very orderly."

1030 GMT: Thousands have now gathered in front of Qaid Ibrahim mosque in Alexandria for the funeral procession of three protesters who have been killed.

1025 GMT: The US Embassy has advised American nationals to consider leaving Egypt.

Earlier in the week US officials said Americans should avoid non-essential travel to the country.

1000 GMT: Rawya Regeh of Al Jazeera says protests have begun in three locations in Alexandria.

0905 GMT: Egypt state TV says the Al Jazeera office in Cairo will be shut down today as the channel's licence is revoked.

Al Jazeera continues to broadcast, however.

0902 GMT: Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera, reporting from Suez, says that her crew was "mobbed", as they attempted to get out of their car, by people trying to take their equipment.

0900 GMT: Reports coming in of an anti-Government demonstration in Sudan. A participant, who says there were up to a 100 protesters, sends the meesage, "Riot police attacked us. Numbers started to build up. Protesters are spreading into smaller groups in internal streets."

0829 GMT: Al Jazeera confirms that more than 1000 protesters are gathering in central Cairo.

However, a reporter for Britain's Channel 4 sends the message, "The scene is army blockading all routes to Tahrir Square [in Cairo] to protesters for first time: tolerance running thin." He also counted 22 tanks and APCs blockading State TV with an Army machine gunner on the balcony.


0815 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting that military vehicles are now on the streets of Sharm el Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula. The terms of the 1979 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt prohibited any military presence in the Sinai. So the move is likely to have had Israeli acceptance; West Jerusalem has refused on previous occasions to allow the entry of Egypt's military.

A German press agency has been reporting that fires erupted in Sharm el Sheikh market amidst looting & ransacking.

Al Hewar is reporting that the house belonging to the in-laws of Hosni Mubarak has been looted in Minya, 245 kilometres/152 miles south of Cairo.

0800 GMT: An audio from a Cairo resident describes the situation this morning: "We are protecting our everyday life....We think letting other people protecting us for so long --- that's not working anymore."

0740 GMT: An Al Jazeera reporter strolls through Cairo, "LOT more army on streets today. Roadblocks on traffic on Gala St. More tension btw soldiers/civilians. Situation feels different now."

And another reporter notes, "Egypt still SMS'ing largely down (except one from Army via Vodafone), Internet outages still widespread. Mobile phones work."

0730 GMT: 1st-hand from Cairo: "Woke up to a quiet street, people are getting some foul sandwiches from the kart that comes every morning, always a good sign....Seeing black smoke rising up from corniche area, north of maspero building close to the sawiris towers but not too close for danger."

0700 GMT: Thanks to Josh Shahryar both for handling the overnight LiveBlog and for offering a sharp analysis of the politics around the looting that took over headlines last night.

Indeed, it may be a sign of President Hosni Mubarak's isolated position --- at least for the moment --- that his selection of Egypt's head of intelligence Omar Suleiman as Vice President was not the dominant story of the evening. And, at least for the moment, even the tens of thousands in Cairo's Tahrir Square --- a scene which had galvanised the story of resistance on Tuesday night and the prospect of which provided Friday's drama --- took second stage

Instead, the cutting-edge issue was the violence and looting. We were learning, not only via social media and Al Jazeera but first-hand through our correspondents talking to sources in Egypt, that neighbourhoods around Cairo and across the country were being swept by fear and disorder.

There were headline stories such as the killing of at least 17 people trying to enter a police station and of 10 to 15 protesters shot dead by a sniper outside the Ministry of Interior, but there were also tales of corpses being dumped in locations far from central Cairo, of woman fearing for their safety, and of gangs sacking shops and threatening apartments.

However, by last night, two currents were emerging in that story which could prove significant. The first was the increasingly visible presence of the Army. Although its units were overstretched, it was providing both symbol  and substance of protection in some areas.

And in others, it was the neighbourhood defence units, set up quickly and often on an impromptu basis, that seemed to be altering the situation. Although the picture early this morning was far from a single, triumphant one of victory over the "thugs", it did seems that groups of people were stepping up and taking responsibility where the police had disappeared.

And in those two developments, the further issues for President Hosni Mubarak --- now with his sons and wife in London rather than Cairo --- were crystallised. Was he indeed in control of Egypt's Army and thus in a position to claim he had settled the situation? 

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