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Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: The Battle of Tahrir Square

0200 GMT: With relative quiet in Egypt, we're going to take a break until Scott Lucas resumes in a few hours with the Friday LiveBlog.

0118 GMT: Al Jazeera TV just announced that Reuters quoting the New York Times reports that the US is discussing a proposal with Egyptian proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately and for a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman to take power. We cannot confirm this as of yet. 

Latest Egypt Video: The Battle of Tahrir Square in Cairo

Egypt in Pictures: Wednesday's Protests
Egypt in Pictures: The Women of the Protests
Turkey's Message for Egypt: "Democracy Shall Win"

Wednesday's LiveBlog: Towards the Day of Departure

The story on the New York Times reads

The Obama administration is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately, turning over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military, administration officials and Arab diplomats said Thursday.

The NYT story claims that officials from both governments are discussing the proposal which would have Suleiman would immediately replace President Mubarak and be backed by the chief of Egypt's army, Sami Enan and the Defense Minister Mohamed Tantawi and a process for constitutional reform will begin. 

The process would include all opposition parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood. The proposal is not being discussed with Mubarak directly and is one of many. There was no indication that anyone else in the Egyptian government - including Suleiman, Enan and Tantawi - had agreed to the plan. 

2313 GMT: White House Spokesperson Robert Gibbs had this to say about Egypt today: 

Let me -- if I can, let me just start with a few thoughts.  I want to reiterate our administration and our country’s strong condemnation of the violence and the images that we’ve seen over the past many hours.

The government of Egypt has to ensure that peaceful protests can take place.  We have obviously seen the remarks of the Prime Minister today and hope that his acknowledgment that anybody that is involved in this will be held accountable is something that the government is serious about.

I want to say a word for a second on the systematic targeting of journalists in Egypt.  This also is completely and totally unacceptable.  Any journalist that has been detained should be released immediately.  I think we need to be clear that the world is watching the actions that are taking place right now in Egypt.  And I’ll reiterate again that the actions of targeting journalists, that is unacceptable, and that those journalists should be, if they are detained, released immediately.  I know the President has been briefed on this as part of the daily briefing this morning. 

Next, I would like to again reiterate that the -- as we have said all along -- that the time for the transition in Egypt is now, and it is important that we all begin to see meaningful steps toward that transition and that negotiations take place between the government and a broadly based group of members of the opposition as we work through, as I said, the transition toward free and fair elections.

2300 GMT: Various sources are claiming the number of people in Tahrir Square is very large and somewhere between 50k to 250k. We cannot confirm this, just that the square has a huge presence of pro-democracy, anti-regime protesters. 

The situation is currently calm. Protesters have set up barricades on the half a dozen routes leading into the square and hundreds of men are patrolling them to keep away thugs from attacking the peaceful protests. There is no violence right now. Everyone is just waiting for tomorrow for the huge protests planned. 

2032 GMT: Bloomberg reports:

Egypt’s Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary said today it may ask theInternational Criminal Court to look into attacks yesterday on demonstrators protesting against President Hosni Mubarak.

2050 GMT: The UN is again taking a stance against violence used against peaceful protesters in Egypt. The Washington Post reports:

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq says that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stresses that attacks on peaceful demonstrators in Egypt are "unacceptable," and says popular discontent calls for bold reforms, not repression.

2047 GMT: CNN reports

The United States has information suggesting that the Egyptian Interior Ministry is involved in rounding up journalists who are covering the unrest there, U.S. State Department officials said Thursday.

2041 GMT: The New York Times has published an amazing aray of photographs from the clashes in Tahrir Square. We're not republishing any as almost every single one is too graphic. They can be accessed here, but beware of their graphic nature. Don't visit the link if you don't wish to see graphic photos. 

2037 GMT: An eye witness account of journalists being beaten, detained and harassed in Egypt on the Christian Science Monitor was published today:

It was one thing to keep an eye out for incoming rocks or tear gas canisters, as I had done the previous week when police fought the protesters, with a friendly crowd around me. It was another to try to dodge flying chunks of concrete and angry aggressive men at the same time.

We couldn’t tell who the attackers were; we were on the pro-democracy, anti-Mubarak side of the battle line, but there appeared to be at least some government thugs who had infiltrated the crowd.

They were later detained by the army for half an hour. 

2025 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that 10-15 thousand foreign nationals left the country on Wednesday. Thousands are leaving every day. 

2022 GMT: Ivan Watson of CNN tweets

Human Rights Watch:Egyptian security encircled/detained up to 12 Amnesty Internat'l, HRW,& other human rights wrkrs,took them away in bus.

2018 GMT: There are reporters that the 7 youth activists arrested earlier were detained after meeting with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei. We cannot confirm this.

2100 GMT: Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan tweets

2 AJE journos went missing for 6hrs today- now been found beaten up. Jazeera won't stop reporting but re-assessing safety

Protestors w me were pharmacists, lecturers & students- nicest people u'd ever meet. One cried because I had to see his nation like this

my life was pretty much in hands of those protestors defending the square last nite. If pro-Mubarak thugs found me inside, well u know...

2100 GMT: Human rights activists have launched a project to document the victims of the crisis so far. Collaboration is being done online here on "Killed in Egypt". 

2050 GMT: Hossam Hamalawi, a blogger an activist, was on Al Jazeera just now: 

I left Tahrir Squar 3 hours ago. 200,000 people showed up there today and moral was very high despite the terror campaign yesterday by Mubarak thugs. They are not Mubarak supporters. They are paid criminals; hired thugs. They are policemen in plainclothes. They attacked and killed at least 5... The security committees by the citizens in Tahrir Square managed to stop them today. Everybody is expecting big protests tomorrow. 

Asked how long they will continue protesting, he said:

We will continue protesting until we get regime change. We believe we have cornered the regime and that our victory is imminent. 

2044 GMT: US Sec. of State Hillary Clinton just told reporters that Journalists must be allowed to report on events freely to rest of the world the events in Egypt. She added that she spoke to Vice President Omar Suleiman today on the need for free and fair elections and urged him to open negotiations for an orderly transition with opposition, civil society group and political forces.  

2040 GMT: We are getting constant reports of journalists getting beaten, arrested, forced out of the country and their equipment being ceased. Many have been missing as well. There seems to be an all out attack against journalists by government and thugs. 

2030 GMT: "Swedish TV reporter Bert Sundström hospitalised in Cairo after beatings. Stable but serious condition."

2027 GMT: Some US senators and representatives showed willingness to cut-off aid to Egypt if Mubarak doesn't step down. Business Week reports: 

Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the panel that controls foreign aid, said he’s prepared to stop all U.S. financial assistance to Egypt -- which topped $1.5 billion last year -- unless Mubarak steps aside immediately and allows a transitional government to take over.

“If he doesn’t leave, there will not be foreign aid; I mean, it’s as simple as that,” Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, told Bloomberg Television in an interview yesterday. U.S. money “will not go to the Mubarak administration,” Leahy said, adding, “that’s a pipeline that can easily be turned off.”


Leahy has been joined by Representative Lloyd Doggett... The U.S. “must send the unmistakable message to Mubarak and all dictators who are watching our response that we will not continue to waste money propping up his tyranny,” Doggett wrote [in a letter to President Obama].

2025 GMT: AFP reports that 7 youth activists have been arrested from Tahrir Square today. While Al-Arabiya reports that the number of arrested activists from Tahrir is now 11. 

1950 GMT: The April 6 Movement denied that it was negotiating with Vice President Omar Suleiman. Meanwhile, the numbers in Tahrir Square are swelling. There are now up to 20,000 people protesting against the regime there. 

1945 GMT: President Hosni Mubarak is giving an interview with ABC and just said that he wants to leave office, but he fears chaos will ensue if he left. Christiane Amanpour reports that with his son present in the room in the Egyptian Presidential Palace in Cairo, the president said that he never intended to run again. The report adds

He told me that he is troubled by the violence we have seen in Tahrir Square over the last few days but that his government is not responsible for it. Instead, he blamed the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned political party here in Egypt....

While he described President Obama as a very good man, he wavered when I asked him if hour felt the U.S. had betrayed him. When I asked him how he responded to the United States' veiled calls for him to step aside sooner rather than later, he said he told President Obama "you don't understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now."

1940 GMT: Billionaire British Philantropist and owner of Virgin Airlines Richard Branson called on President Mubarak to step down. His statement here, states: 

The world’s business leaders should speak out and support the people of Egypt and other countries where oppressive leaders hold sway. At the moment, global politicians are beating around the bush and too many business leaders are keeping quiet. Politicians and business leaders should give President Mubarak a clear statement of intent that he must step down immediately enabling Egypt to move to a true democracy.

1930 GMT: Multiple reports claim that the Muslim Brotherhood has rejected any form of dialogue with the Mubarak government claiming that the people had rejected Mubarak and his regime and they had no legitimacy for any form of dialogue. We cannot fully confirm this. 

1925 GMT: Al Jazeera reports that three of its journalists that had been detained earlier have been released. There is no word on a fourth journalist for the station who has been missing. 

1923 GMT: Ayman Mohyeldin of Al Jazeera reports that two Brazilian journalists in Egypt for Radio Nacional and TV Brasil were forced out of the country.  

1920 GMT: As protests continue in Yemen after Tunisia and Egypt for change and reform, many are skeptical about the prospects. International foreign policy think tank Chatham House's Kate Nevens told Bloomberg that it is unlikely that Yemen's protests would have an immediate, 'tangible' impact on the political system. 

1917 GMT: Voice of America reports

...the United Nations has begun to withdraw its staff from Egypt, with around 600 personnel and their families being evacuated to Cyprus.

Those being evacuated represent U.N. agencies, including the World Health Organization, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

1915 GMT: Al Mousry Al Youm reports

Judicial sources on Thursday said Egypt’s attorney-general banned a former official of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and three former ministers from travel in advance of referring them to investigation.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources said that those banned from travel included former NDP Organization Secretary Ahmed Ezz, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, former Housing Minister Ahmed al-Maghraby and former Minister of Tourism Zuhair Garrana.

They said al-Adly and three other security leaders were put under house arrest in Six October City.

Earlier reports suggest that al-Adly and the three security leaders put under house arrest also had their assets frozen. 

1910 GMT: CNN reports: "Former Nile TV reporter Shahira Amin quits her job, claiming she was pressured to air only pro-Mubarak rallies." You can watch her testimony here

1910 GMT: Human Rights Watch's researcher Dan Williams has reportedly been arrested in Cairo. 

1907 GMT: US Assistant Secretary of State of Public Affairs P. J. Crowley just told reporters that the US State Department was monitoring the attacks and arrests of protesters individually and that they didn't believe these were random events. 

1900 GMT: The BBC quotes William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, who claims that Gamal Mubarak has not left for London: 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls the attacks on reporters as "an all out witch-hunt for jounralists". ABC has compiled a list of these attacks here

1840 GMT: There are now reports that Gamal Mubarak has not left Egypt and is still in the country. Some sources are confirming while others are denying this. 

1835 GMT: Ayman Mohyeldin of Al Jazeera reports that two dozen journalists are unaccounted for today after the attacks on media in Cairo and other parts of the country. 

1830 GMT: Sharif Kouddous tweets from Cairo: 

Everyone offers each other bread, water, candy bars, juice. One can't go hungry here. 

1830 GMT: Former Interior Minister Al-Adly and 3 businessmen are being investigated for alleged misuse of government funds by the Egyptian government. 

1825 GMT: Wired reports that at least 4 Egyptian online activists of the April 6 Movement have been arrested by authorities so far. 

1820 GMT: Al Jazeera claims unconfirmed reports of upto 10 people killed in Tahrir Square today as a result of gunfire. 

1815 GMT: There are reports that Libya - fearing a repeat of Tunisia and now Egypt - has turned off Al Jazeera and the station cannot be viewed there. The reports suggest the Libyan government has also blocked off the video-sharing site YouTube. We cannot fully confirm this. 

1810 GMT: Egyptian activist @SandMonkey, who was arrested and then managed to free himself, has written a passionate report on what happened and what he and others intend to do. He concludes with this: 

The End is near. I have no illusions about this regime or its leader, and how he will pluck us and hunt us down one by one till we are over and done with and 8 months from now will pay people to stage fake protests urging him not to leave power, and he will stay "because he has to acquiesce to the voice of the people". This is a losing battle and they have all the weapons, but we will continue fighting until we can't. I am heading to Tahrir right now with supplies for the hundreds injured, knowing that today the attacks will intensify, because they can't allow us to stay there come Friday, which is supposed to be the game changer. We are bringing everybody out, and we will refuse to be anything else than peaceful. If you are in Egypt, I am calling on all of you to head down to Tahrir today and Friday. It is imperative to show them that the battle for the soul of Egypt isn't over and done with. I am calling you to bring your friends, to bring medical supplies, to go and see what Mubarak's gurantees look like in real life. Egypt needs you. Be Heroes.

1805 GMT: There are still attacks on Tahrir Square, but magnitude of attacks by pro-Mubarak protesters and thugs has died down significantly now. People are peacefully assembled and are being joined by more people right now. 

1805 GMT: Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota tweets

Mubarak's repression is revealing true colors of dictatorship. Violence. Abuse. Silencing media. Showing what Egyptians have known for yrs.

1800 GMT: Al Jazeera and others are reporting that government is spreading rumors amidst the population that there are foreign agents among the protesters to possibly incite violence against foreign reporters. 

1750 GMT: Al Jazeera has released a call for the Egyptian government to release 3 of its journalists that have been detained and to find the one missing. 

1740 GMT: Oxfam International reports

2 of Oxtam partners in Cairo were attacked and several people working for our partners had been arrested. This happened around 2:30 in the offices of one of Oxfam partners based basically in downtown Cairo. So right outside of Tahir Square. This office was used during the week for press briefings as well as giving the opportunity for lawyers and other groups to use the facility and to sort of work on some of the cases of some of the people that have been arrested during the week.

Oxfam is an international organization working to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice worldwide. 

1730 GMT: So how quickly can these reforms be implemented? Why can't the government complete the reforms within a few days? Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera tweets: 

In 2007 the govt changed 13 articles of the constitution in 17 days says egyptian analyst showing suleiman plea for time not legit he says

1721 GMT: We can still hear gunshots around Tahrir Square and people chanting "Go Mubarak, Go!"

1636 GMT: The Vice President Omar Suleiman appeared on Al-Musriyya state TV and during an interview said that the demands of the youth of the January 25 movement were legitimate and acceptable and that they have been examined. However, he blamed foreign operatives with their own agendas whose objective was to create instability, intimidation and rift between Egyptians. He also put some of the blame vaguely on the Muslim Brotherhood. 

He claimed that these operatives wanted to carry out sabotage. He said that these operatives forced the government to deploy Army. He said that these operatives will be arrested and penalized. 

He said that constitutional amendments will be made to the constitution to allow more reform in the sections that determine qualification of candidates. He said that they had contacted all parties to join a dialogue with the government and that two parties, including Wafd Party, had asked for time. He said they had also contacted the Muslim Brotherhood and invited them to reform talks, but they were hesitant to join.

He said that they had a short term to implement reforms before the elections in six months.

He adds that people who were responsible for the Tahrir Square killings last night will be held accountable for their actions. He claimed that they will find the people with horses and camels and tried to break up protests in Tahrir Square will be identified. He also claimed that pro-Mubarak protesters had been pushed towards Tahrir Square and that they will find out who pushed them there and find out who started the clashes. 

The Armed Forces were deployed to safeguard all people, he said, and that the Armed Forces are carrying out a new role which is to implement the curfew, protect civilians against the thugs and finally, burden the responsibility of the police. He claimed that what took place last night in Tahrir Square was because the Army was not instructed to stop protesters from peaceful protests and that there was no anticipation of violence, but they managed to separate the two sides. But he claimed that the pro-Mubarak supporters didn't go to Tahrir Square on their own, but were rather forced there by elements he did not identify. 

He asked the youth to stop demonstrating because it will simply continue the state of paralysis that government is in. He claimed that one million tourists had left the country in the past nine days. He said that continuing like this will only ruin the state and not bring reform. He implored the youth to have confidence in the state and not to distrust the government's promises regarding reform.  

He called President Hosni Mubarak the father of the country. He said that Mubarad had announced he nor his son will run in the next election and that if he stepped down immediately, the government will fall into chaos and instability as no country can function without a leader. 

All the world states wereinterested in instability in Egypt and that the world wants to see Egypt stable, he said. Though, there were certain forces who were intervening in Egyptian affairs and that it will have consequences and that they will not tolerate them. He blamed some friendly states who were hosting non-friendly TV stations, (a clear accusation against Al Jazeera), who were charging the youth against the state. He claimed that these TV stations have circulated false reports and accusations. 

He commended the police and said that they only defended themselves during the clashes with the youth. The police had instructions not to fire live ammunition against the demonstrators, and they have now been pulled back. He said that all people arrested - unless they have committed a crime - will be released. 

He thanked the youth for the protests that sparked the reforms. He requested them to give the state a chance to shoulder its responsibilities and not to pay heed to the rumors and satellite stations who are rousing them. He said that people were suffering food shortages and situation was getting out of hand and that they should not come out tomorrow to protest. 

1632 GMT: People are still being shot at again, eye-witness is reporting from Tahrir Square. You can hear live ammunition being fired in the background. He claims that they are laser pointed guns and that since only government has such high-tech equipment, only government could have given it to the snipers. 

He claims the pro-government protesters and thugs are all criminals who have been freed from the jails, given money and weapons and then sent so they can put down the protests. 

1630 GMT: Al Jazeera now reports that at least 5,000 people have been injured in the past 24 hours alone in Cairo. 

1627 GMT: There are unconfirmed reports that at least one more anti-regime protester has been killed around Tahrir. Government supporters and thugs have held high ground and have snipers that are shooting at people, some eye-witnesses claim. 

Reports confirm that these snipers have killed at least 3 people before this - all from gunshot wounds to the head. 

1625 GMT: An Egyptian anti-regime activist who tweets under @SandMonkey was earlier arrested, but has managed to somehow break free. 

1620 GMT: Some journalists in Egypt are now openly claiming that they are being attacked by government supporters to force them to leave the country. Jon Williams, a BBC editor, tweets

Mubarak supporters stormed hotels in Cairo, chasing foreign journalists. Army now securing Hilton hotel...

Egyptian security seize BBC equipment at Cairo Hilton in attempt to stop us broadcasting.

1615 GMT: The government of Algeria has announced that the 19-year long state of emergency in the country will be lifted in the future. President  Abdelaziz Bouteflika - who's ruled the country for almost two decades - announced that protests will be allowed, but not in the capital Algiers. Algerians have planned anti-government and pro-reform protests for the week after next and this move by the government are being hailed as a measure to try and stifle some of the support for those protests. 

1610 GMT: Eye-witness reports of protesters have occupied the main square in Alexandria and won't move until Mubarak steps down. Says that people are angry about what happened last night in Tahrir. 

There have been clashes in Alexandria between Mubarak supporters and the demonstrators, eye-witness claims and adds that they were separated by elderly demonstrators. He says that now it is peaceful and protesters want Mubarak's government to fall immediately. 

Claims that Friday there will be a big protest in Alexandria to topple Mubarak. 

1608 GMT: Al Jazeera now reporting that numbers of anti-regime protesters in Tahrir Square and areas around it is about 15,000. 

1605 GMT: Anti-regime protesters have taken over most of th 6th October Bridge and two of the overpasses. They seem to be erecting barracades now in order to stop any attacks from thugs and pro-Mubarak protesters. 

1605 GMT: Earlier, a Greek journalist covering the protests around Tahrir Square was stabbed by thugs. He has now reportedly been released from the hospital. 

1600 GMT: Death toll in Cairo in the past 24 hours now confirmed to be 13 - many others claim it is still higher - and the health minister announced that over 1,000 people have been injured overnight. 

1600 GMT: A BBC reporter was arrested by the secret police, but later released. The UK new site reports

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes and his crew were forced out of their car shortly after interviewing an adviser to the president. They were later released and sent this report.

1555 GMT: The Stock Market in Cairo will only operate for 3 hours a day down from 4 hours because of the curfew now being imposed. 

1550 GMT: There are confirmed reports now that Mubarak's son, Gamal Mubarak, who fled the country for the UK a few days ago and before the protests was widely seen as Mubarak's successor, has resigned his National Democratic Party membership. 

1525 GMT: Amnesty International has confirmed that some of its employees have been arrested in Cairo.

1500 GMT: The major political development this afternoon is the press conference of Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq, as he tried both to hold back the tide of opposition and to buy some time for the regime.

Shafiq, citing the pride of Egyptians in their country, emphasised that "Mubarak leaving office must be done with dignity" and must not "replicate the Tunisian example", i.e., the forced depature of President Ben Ali with his exile to Saudi Arabia: "We must not bow to foreigners or copy the Tunisian example."

That has now been superseded, however, by the breaking news that Vice President Omar Suleiman has announced that neither President Mubarak nor his Gamal will run for election in September. Mubarak had declared earlier this week that he would not stand but rebuffed demands, including those by an American envoy, that his son also rule himself out.

1305 GMT: Updates will be limited this afternoon while we are in Nottingham. Rolling coverage continues via the Al Jazeera English feed on the site.

1250 GMT: A summary update before EA staff spend the afternoon at the 49th Parallel re-launch in Nottingham....

Gunfire continues to be heard around Tahrir Square. About 50 people have been reported injured in nearby Abdel Menem Riyad, the front-line between the two sides, and 5 pro-Mubarak men have been arrested.

Al Jazeera reports that two of its reporters have been attacked on their way from the airport to central Cairo.

Prominent on-line activist "Sandmonkey" has been arrested.

Senior reporter Shahira Amin from State-run Nile TV has resigned and joined the anti-Mubarak protesters at Tahrir Square. Outlining threats and intimidations by the regime against Al Jazeera, she says she does not want to be part of the regime's propaganda.

American University in Cairo Professor Hamam Iman has been intercepted and assaulted in her car on the way to Tahrir Square.

Security forces are searching the confidential files of the Hisham Mubarak human rights center in Cairo.

Vodafone says, "The Egyptian authorities are forcing the company to send out pro-Mubarak text messages."

1140 GMT: A photograph of today's protest of an estimated 20,000 in Sanaa in Yemen:

1135 GMT: Austrian journalist Peter Stefanovic reports, " Hotel security just confiscated our second camera. They don't want any crews taking them to their rooms."

And from Daily News Egypt: "Mobs of people attack two of our reporters in Dokki for being 'foreigners'. We are all fine after army intervention."


1130 GMT: CNN says Yasser El Shimi, a diplomat at the Egyptian Embassy in the US, has resigned in support of the protests.

1120 GMT: Al Jazeera English is now showing footage of thousands protesting in Yemen, speaking to a local journalist about the protests.

1110 GMT: Al Jazeera is reporting large demonstrations also in Alexandria and Mansoura, northeast of Cairo.

1105 GMT: Australian reporter Hamish Macdonald observes, "Just witnessed a foreign tv journalist being carried along the road in front of our hotel by an angry mob. not sure where to."

And Gregg Carlstrom of Al Jazeera English: "Crowd of pro-Mubarak thugs is rampaging on a rooftop near Tahrir Square, destroying someone's camera equipment."

1055 GMT: Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq, due to hold a press conference, commends youth "for voicing their opinions".

1039 GMT: Reports that pro-Mubarak groups are trying to block anyone from bringing in food and water to Tahrir Square.

An activist sends the message, "Friend was trying to deliver medical supplies, they smashed his car and he had to turn & run away."

1035 GMT: Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq has told Al Arabiya that his discussions with the opposition include talks with representatives of groups in Tahrir Square.

Opposition leader Ayman Nour tells BBC Arabic, however, "I just saw on the news that apparently I was in [Vice President] Omar Suleiman's office before speaking to you on the phone."

1020 GMT: A report comes in that Eric Feyte, a cameraman for Dutch television, has been arrested in Cairo.

1010 GMT: Lara Setrakian of ABC News reports, "Just saw a thwarted attack on Tahrir Square --- regime loyalists charging crowd, male protesters run to stop them. One gunshot."

0945 GMT: Mohamed ElBaradei, the appointed voice for the opposition coalition, says he will not accept an offer from PM Ahmad Shafiq to talk, insisting President Mubarak must step down first.

The Muslim Brotherhood also has refused talks.

0940 GMT: John Rugman of Britain's Channel 4 reports, "1 journalist punched in face, another stabbed in leg by pro-Mubarak thugs in Cairo this morning. On their way to hospital now."

0933 GMT: Gregg Carlstrom of Al Jazeera English reports, "Talked with several soldiers manning barricades around Tahrir [Square]. Said they have orders not to allow more pro-Mubarak people near the square."

0928 GMT: Egyptian State TV reports that the Egyptian Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, has apologised for yesterday's events and is asking for an investigation. He is calling for cameras to accompany him to the Cabinet meeting.

It is also reported that Shafiq may be meeting with opposition groups this morning.

Al Arabiya reports that Vice President Omar Suleiman has also said that he will investigate the violence and begin talks with opposition parties today.

Meanwhile, an Egypt Cabinet spokesman denies the Government is behind pro-Mubarak attacks on protesters, describing the charge as "fiction".

0902 GMT: Journalist Sharif Kouddous writes, "I'm inside Tahrir. It looks like a war zone. Many wounded. But there are still many here and more are coming in. They are defiant."

0900 GMT: The scene in Tahrir Square this morning:

And the scene near the Square, with a tank near the pro-Mubarak group:

0855 GMT: The headline in Government-funded Al Ahram this morning: "Millions protest in support of Mubarak"

0835 GMT: A New York Times reporter updates, "Anti-Mubarak protesters v. jumpy. 10 a.m. furore as they catch suspected cop and drag him away, beating him. They say will hand him to Army."

Ayman Mohyeldin of Al Jazeera English gives a dramatic account by audio as one group took away the pro-Mubarak man and others reminded, "Peaceful!".

0830 GMT: The Egyptian opposition group Kefaya has said that the events in Meydan Tahrir mean the anti-Mubarak "Friday of Departure" protests will be massive. It added that it is no longer possible to discuss a peaceful exit for President Mubarak and he must be tried in court.

0825 GMT: Jon Williams, the BBC's foreign editor, sends a message, "Journalists in Cairo locked down inside Ramses Hilton. Frontline on doorstep --- Army say pro-Mubarak supporters told to target reporters."

Peter Beaumont of The Observer is able to report, however, "Bridge over end of Tahrir Sq clear of pro-Mubarak [group]. Took five minutes and they left when told!...Still pro-Mubarak under underpass. Bricks flying again/"

0815 GMT: Al Jazeera English and other jouranlists observe the Army pushing back pro-Mubarak groups on a bridge near Tahrir Square, separating the two sides.


0810 GMT: A report from Jack Shenker of The Guardian of London: "Egyptian doctor in Tahrir [Square] says 7 dead overnight from clashes with pro-Mubarak thugs, reports sniper fire."

0740 GMT: In Yemen, more than 20,000 protesters are marching in Sanaa in the "Day of Rage" rally.

The crowd, already the largest since demonstrations began two weeks ago, are chanting, "The people want regime change. No to corruption, no to dictatorship."

Several Government websites, including that of the President, are reportedly down.

0715 GMT: Ammon News claims from "informed sources" that Libya has been the source of jamming and scrambling of Al Jazeera over the last week.

0704 GMT: Gregg Carlstrom of Al Jazeera English writes, "Just tried to enter Tahrir Square near the museum and got held at knifepoint by pro-Mubarak thugs. Crowd is more aggressive than yesterday."

0659 GMT: An Indonesian relief worker has reportedly been killed in Cairo.

0655 GMT: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, calling the events "a shocking development".

0650 GMT: Pro-Mubarak groups have resumed throwing stones into Tahrir Square. Anti-regime demonstrators are getting up and moving to their barricades, banging on metal drums.

0640 GMT: Egyptian State TV is now saying five people were killed in overnight battles and more than 800 were injured during the day. The official line is that the casualties were from stone-throwing, metal rods, and sticks ---  there was no reference to gunfire.

Al Jazeera English says "more than 1000" injured.

0630 GMT: While Egypt will hold attention, there could be significant developments elsewhere. Activists have called for marches in Sudan today, and the Yemeni opposition is planning a "Day of Rage" in the capital Sanaa.

Yesterday President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for 33 years, said he would not run for re-election and he would not put his son forward; however, he made a similar statement in 2005, only to win another term in 2006.

Brian Whitaker offers an overview.

0550 GMT: Thanks to Josh Shahryar for keeping up with the overnight drama in Cairo.

When I handed over last night, anti-regime protesters had won a significant battle by pushing back pro-Mubarak groups, who had been attacking all day, near the National Museum. 

There was more to come, however. Anti-regime demonstrators faced machine guns as the clash moved to a bridge. Several people were killed --- the official toll is four, but it is likely to be higher --- but the protesters were able to drive off the pro-Government forces.

So this morning, after the pro-Mubarak protests and the attacks by Government supporters, the anti-regime protesters remain in Tahrir Square. Petrol bombs are still being thrown on the square and calls for blood and medical assistance continue, but there are also reports of more demonstrators coming to Tahrir.

The Army, meanwhile, continues to hang back and watch the battles. Sporadic attempts at intervention in the clash near the National Museum were soon rebuffed, primarily by pro-Mubarak forces, and the military did not intervene in the overnight conflict.


























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