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Egypt (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Hunkering Down

2300 GMT: In Tunisia, the Ministry of Interior has announced that the former ruling party, the Constitituional Democratic Rally, is to be suspended and its offices closed.

2155 GMT: And now, to offer wisdom on the Egyptian crisis, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin:

It’s a difficult situation, this is that 3 a.m. White House phone call and it seems for many of us trying to get that information from our leader in the White House it it seems that that call went right to um the answering machine. And nobody yet has, no body yet has explained to the American public what they know, and surely they know more than the rest of us know who it is who will be taking the place of Mubarak and I'm not real enthused about what it is that that’s being done on a national level and from DC in regards to understanding all the situation there in Egypt. And in these areas that are so volatile right now because obviously it’s not just Egypt but the other countries too where we are seeing uprisings, we know that now more than ever, we need strength and sound mind there in the White House. We need to know what it is that America stands for so we know who it is that America will stand with. And we do not have all that information yet.

2043 GMT: CNN conducted an interview with Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq today. Here's the interview in its entirety. Notice how he cannot hear the question about human rights activists and journalists being arrested and then we he does hear the question, he offers a non-answer: 


2024 GMT: Al Jazeera is now reporting that their reporter Ayman Mohyeldin has been released by the government. 

2013 GMT: German officials have seized the assets of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia: 

Several bank accounts and property in Frankfurt were seized after a European Union ordinance went into effect that froze assets belonging to Ben Ali, his wife and 46 family members, Die Welt reported in an article sent by e-mail today.

2005 GMT: Meanwhile the representatives of the opposition who did meet VP Suleiman today seems to have accepted the idea of Mubarak remaining in power for the rest of his term and the Emergency Law should be ended, Al Masry Al Youm reports quoting MENA News Agency - owned by the Egyptian government. 

Opposition leaders have not come out to endorse Mubarak ending his term in September yet.   

2000 GMT: Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei did not have kind words for the meeting between Vice President Omar Suleiman and members of some opposition groups today to which ElBaradei wasn't invited. Al Masry Al Youm reports

The Nobel Peace laureate said weekend talks with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman were managed by the same people who had ruled the country for 30 years and lack credibility. He said the negotiations were not a step toward the change protesters have demanded in 12 days of demonstrations calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

"The process is opaque. Nobody knows who is talking to whom at this stage," ElBaradei, the former head of the UN nuclear watchdog, said on NBC's "Meet the Press.""It's managed by Vice President Suleiman," ElBaradei said. "It is all managed by the military and that is part of the problem."

1940 GMT: The Cross and the Koran at Egyptian protests: 

1925 GMT: There are reports that activist and Google exec Wael Ghonim will be released tomorrow. We cannot confirm this yet. 

1855 GMT: Tunisia's Minister of Interior has struck down on the former ruling Party. The Associated Press reports

A statement says that the minister, Fahrat Rajhi, has suspended all activities of the party known as the RCD and intends to seek its dissolution.

The statement carried Sunday by the official TAP news agency says the suspension means there can be no more party meetings and all party offices are closed.

1845 GMT: A reporter for Bloomberg was beaten, dragged and arrested. Her account is horrifying: 

A policeman looked me in the eye and said: “You will be lynched today,” running his finger across his neck. Others spat on us. They hit the two men in our group in the face through the broken windows, scratching Mahmoud and punching my other male friend. Someone pulled my hair from the back.

An army officer was standing right next to the car as well. Several of us screamed during the hail of blows and grabbed his hand, asking for protection. He just looked at us and told us not to be afraid.

The attack appeared to be orchestrated between the plainclothes men and the uniformed police. At times the police forces would yell “Cordon,” and the mob would hold hands and form a circle around the car. When they were told to sit on the ground, they again obeyed.

1822 GMT: A Facebook album has been set up for artist, professor and activist Ahmed Basiouny, killed during the protest. Can be accessed here

1800 GMT: Gunshots are being heard from from around Tahrir Square right now. It seems to be the army shooting warning shots to avoid some sort of confrontation. Some sources are reporting that the Army is erecting barbed wire around the square and protesters are resisting the action as it will restrict the space within which they are protesting. Others have form human chains to stop them from moving around and disrupting protests. 

A tank has now rolled onto the 6th of October Bridge to remove rock throwers and pro-Mubarak supporters who've been disrupting peaceful protests for the past week. 

1745 GMT: How do you stop tanks from moving? Well, you can sit in front of them...: 


1730 GMT: Nawaa has posted a video, showing the funeral of those protesters killed on Saturday in clashes with security forces. It can be accessed here. The funeral itself turned into another protest. 

1720 GMT: As the Egyptian economy staggers, the government is trying everything to show the world that the country is stable and economic worries are either being dealt with or don't exist at all. The Daily News Egypt reports

As Egyptians queued up at banks that were finally open, some warned citizens against a panic-driven attempt to pull all the money out of their accounts. One message circulated via Blackberry Messenger and SMS urged the following: “[Please] don’t withdraw more money than you need or buy [dollars] if you don’t need them. Let’s help our economy stay strong. …Egypt is now ours again. Purchase Egyptian products.”

Citadel Capital, a private equity firm, resumed operations on Sunday, and said in a statement that its operations in other countries had been operating as usual. Unrest in Egypt may have a short-term impact on its investment and divestiture plans, it said: "In the long term, however, Citadel Capital believes that this difficult period will result in a more stable and faster-growing Egypt and region."

This happens while the Egyptian ecomony is losing almost $310 million a day since the protests began. Stability returning? Hardly.  

1715 GMT: The Egyptian Central Bank has moved $850 million into the financial system as banks reopened their services. The Egyptian pound is trading at its lowest price in five years and the banking sector has been hard hit by closures since the protests began. 

1710 GMT: And how about Egyptian State TV's coverage of the protests? Criticized by many reformists and the protesters as well as outside observers, it is now being defended by the Minister of Information. Said Anas el-Fiqi, the Minister responsible for the station, described its coverage today as the "best and most heartful" in the world. 

How delusional can one get, right? 

1705 GMT: RFE/RL reports that the meeting today between Vice President Omar Suleiman and opposition groups was described by the groups as "positive", but without many results

Abdel Monem Aboul Fotouh, from the Muslim Brotherhood, which joined the talks despite the fact the group is banned, said the government’s statement represented "good intentions, but did not include any solid changes."Mustafa Naggar, from an opposition group backed by democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei, said the meeting was "positive in general, but was only a beginning."


1644 GMT: Another protester died overnight in southern Tunisia where fresh clashes erupted between protesters and security forces over the death of at least four civilians in the northern city of El Kef last night. 

Khaleej Times reports that the protester was killed after being hit in the head with a tear gas canister in the city of Kabili.

1642 GMT: Many people both in the right and left in the US have criticized President Obama's flip-flopping and changing views on Egypt's uprising - not to mention Egyptians have been outraged. Jack Tapper of ABC reports: 

1523 GMT: Police in the Algerian capital Algiers have broken up a protest of the National Committee for the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC) in front of the Ministry of Labour.

A large police presence dispersed demonstratations soon after they started chanting, "One, Two, Three, Where is Algeria?".

Demonstrations were also held in cities such as Ouargla, Ghardaia, and Laghouat.

1515 GMT: It is reporter that Hala Fahmi, a reporter for State TV, has declared, "I stand witness that the Minister of Information, Anas Al Faqi, is complicit in hiring thugs."

1510 GMT: Al Jazeera English is showing footage of thousands of demonstrators in Alexandria, now moving towards the main train station.

1505 GMT: The Egyptian Ambassador to the US on American television today about "a very important moment in Egypt's history, a moment of change, one that we are all looking toward with optimism". Pressed, he says, "Things as they were are over":

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

1500 GMT: A Revolutionary Marriage. This could be the Wedding of Many Years (or actually the Second Wedding, following another this week), taking place in Tahrir Square this afternoon. An activist is posting video.

1455 GMT: Al Jazeera English has confirmed the arrest of reporter Ayman Mohyeldin by the military near Tahrir Square.

Al Jazeera English's Alan Fisher has also reported that fellow AJE correspondent Sherine Tadros was also detained but is now free.

1410 GMT: Nader ElSayed, the goalkeeper for the leading Egyptian football team Zamalek, is reportedly leading chants of "People will overthrow the regime" in a "carnival-like" Tahrir Square.

1400 GMT: The opposition say Egypt's Vice President Suleiman has turned down the demand that he assume the powers of President Mubarak during Sunday talks.

1350 GMT: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has not still been contacted by its journalists Robert Tait and Adbelilah Nuaimi, who were reportedly released from detention on Saturday.

1315 GMT: State TV is reporting agreement between opposition groups and the regime, led by Vice President Suleiman, on the end of military law, free media/communications, and joint committees.

1255 GMT: Video has been posted which appears to show a man shot to death by police in Alexandria, even though he appears to be surrendering as he approaches them.

1245 GMT: A picture from Friday night, as protesters sleep in front of tanks to prevent the removal of barricades around Tahrir Square in Cairo:

And this morning's tents in the Square:

1240 GMT: According to AFP, participants in talks between the Egyptian government and opposition groups have agreed to form a constitutional reform committee.

1200 GMT: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, amid recent protests over political reform and economic conditions, has promised a future of freedom, saying that the country Sudan has nothing to fear from it and it is guaranteed by the Constitution.

Bashir made no mention in his speech of the protests in neighboring Egypt. His Government also faces the probably secession of the southern part of the country, after a national referendum.

1145 GMT: Al Jazeera reports "a couple of thousands of protesters" gathered outside a mosque in Alexandria.

1143 GMT: France has suspended sales of arms and tear gas to Egypt.

1140 GMT: Al Arabiya reports the Stock Market will remain closed on Tuesday.

The market was last on 27 January.

1130 GMT: Ivan Watson of CNN recounts a moment during prayer services today, "Egyptian Christians sing songs in Tahrir. Copts held hands w/ Muslims, held up Cross & Koran side by side."

1125 GMT: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed her support of the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood in talks with Vice President Omar Suleiman.

Others in the discussions include businessman Naguib Sawiris, a representative of Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the National Association for Change, and six youth representing the protesters of Tahrir Square.

1115 GMT: Gamal Zidan of the opposition National Association for Change reports from Suez that some protesters are at the Al Arbeen and Al Shohda Mosques, while others have returned to work today.

1112 GMT: Some banks have reopened, others remain closed in Cairo today.

1110 GMT: Egyptian state media is reporting that discussions have begun between Vice President Suleiman and opposition groups.

1105 GMT: Back from a travel break to pick up on latest developments. First, a snapshot of where the US Government has placed itself after the last week:


The man sent last weekend by President Obama to persuade the 82-year-old leader [Mubarak] to step out of the way, Frank G. Wisner, told a group of diplomats and security experts that “President Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical — it’s his opportunity to write his own legacy.”


Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton immediately tried to recalibrate those remarks, repeating the latest iteration of the administration’s evolving strategy. At a minimum, she said, Mr. Mubarak must move out of the way so that his vice president, Omar Suleiman, can engage in talks with protest leaders over everything from constitutional changes to free and fair elections.

0515 GMT: With some EA staff travelling and others getting a bit of rest, we will be back late morning. In the meantime, readers are encouraged to bring in news and analysis.

0510 GMT: Honouring the Dead. Two websites are collecting and posting information on those who have been killed during the recent violence in Egypt. "1000 Memories" offers names, photographs, and details of 44 people, while the "Killed In Egypt" spreadsheet documents 58 who have died.

0450 GMT: Saturday marked a settling-in of positions (or, for Al Jazeera, an "impasse"). The protesters entrenched their occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo, the Government offered some gestures of meeting with opposition while maintaining public backing of the President, and Hosni Mubarak hunkered down somewhere.

There was the flutter in the afternoon that Mubarak had resigned his position as head of the ruling National Democratic Party --- while retaining membership in the NDP --- and that his son Gamal had been replaced in a key position; however, even these reports bogged down in confusion.

The confirmed development was that the Muslim Brotherhood had agreed to join talks with Vice President Omar Suleiman, but the precondition of Mubarak's immediate resignation remains. Indeed, the Brotherhood is also calling for the dissolution of Parliament and the trial of those responsible for recent violence.

The Tahrir Square protesters also included these in their seven demands, issued yesterday, as well as the call for the end of the State of Emergency and the "immediate prosecution of the corrupters & those who robbed the country of its wealth".

The political stand-off, with the Army now maintaining a prominent position between Tahrir Square and any pro-Mubarak forces, is compounded by the restrictions on news --- close to a blackout --- beyond Cairo and Alexandria, because of the intimidation and detention of journalists. So instead, what we get this morning is analysis --- a bit of US Government-fed information, a bit of speculation, a bit of chatter to fill space --- such as "As Mubarak Digs In, US Policy in Egypt is Complicated".

You don't say....

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