Daily News Egypt reports on Friday's protests
2034 GMT: At least 4 people have been killed by police in Egypt, according to Al Jazeera:
At least two people have been shot and killed in the Egyptian city of Suez, as police used live rounds to hold back crowds during a protest over security forces' failure to prevent a deadly football riot.
Two protesters were killed in Cairo just feet away from the Interior Ministry, as police in Cairo set off salvos of tear gas and fired birdshot, and one soldier was killed on Friday when a riot police truck backed into him.
Witnesses in Suez said fighting broke out at a local police station in the northeastern city in the early hours of Friday, hours after the two protesters were killed.
The Free Syrian Army liberated al-Zeber Roundabout on Zeber Street in al-Bayada neighborhood from Assad's thugs; 50 of the regime’s soldiers were captured by the FSA
We believe that the al-Zeber Roundabout is the one on the left on the map below, and the Cairo Roundabout is on the right, but this may not be accurate as exact translations of locations inside Homs are hard to some by. Regardless, if these reports are accurate, then the Free syrian Army has won control over several key intersections in northern Homs:
View EA's Coverage of Syria - 2012 February 3 in a larger map
The gunmen in the isolated desert region had apparently been seeking a ransom, but the security sources declined to discuss the terms of the release.
However, a Bedouin source said the authorities had agreed to a demand to free four fellow tribesmen from police custody in exchange for the two tourists.
1918 GMT: The Local Coordinating Committees of Syria report that a brigade of the Free Syrian Army has won ground and captured 15 Assad loyal soldiers in Homs. According to the report, the Al Farouk Brigade captured the Cairo Street Roundabout (we think here), and in the process took 15 prisoners, including a Lieutenant.
1859 GMT: Back from a quick break...
An EA source has sent us this great picture and video from the AlWefaq rally that took place earlier today:
1752 GMT: An interesting video out of Bahrain - pro-regime Twitter accounts have been pushing this video, reportedly taken last night in Sitra. The video appears to show a peaceful protest shot at relentlessly by police with teargas launchers. Then, after some fancy editing, it switches to a scene where police are firing teargas and protesters eventually throw molotov cocktails at the police:
There are a few interesting things about this video, none of which we can confirm. The regime supporters have repeatedly accused Nabeel Rajab of inciting this kind of violence, but he was busy being teargassed in Manama last night, not Sitra. The second thing that is interesting is that the narrative coming from some groups that have advocated violence towards police officers is that they are only responding to police brutality, and even with the fancy editing that narrative is supported by this video.
It's also important to note that small protests in the villages are nearly nightly occurrences, and clashes between police and members of the youth are also common, though they don't always involve molotovs.
1722 GMT: Turning back to Egypt, it has been another bloody day. The Guardian posts this video, taken by their reports, that shows that police threw teargas into a crowd that appeared to be standing around and praying:
Abdelrahman Hussein describes the scene:
The clashes continue in Mansour Street and Central Security forces have just fired an extended volley of tear gas that has had many protesters scurrying back up the road. Eyewitnesses also claimed security forces are now firing rubber bullets.
Surreally customers are sitting at a cafe at beginning of the road smoking shisha pipes, some with the effects of tear gas evident on their faces. After the intense volley they moved their seats into the cafe rather than on the pavement.
The injuries have increased exponentially. The wounded are being treated on the pavement on Tahrir Street which has become a makeshift field hospital.
It should be noted that Egypt's Ministry of Interior claims that shotguns were used against police, and 138 were injured.
They also share another video, reportedly showing police responding to the reports of the anti-government protest there.
1636 GMT: Again, despite the rising violence in Syria, the dominant narrative for two days has been the large protests in solidarity with Hama, during the 30th anniversary of a massacre in the city, perpetrated by the Assad family, that left 20,000 dead.
The Syrian Uprising 2011 Information Centre posts this video, "the town of Dael in Daraa province. It is the funeral of the martyr Zaher Hariri who died in detention. There are 2 wooden water wheels in the crowd to symbolise Hama. They burn a Russian flag."
1614 GMT: The death toll in Syria has shot up to 28, according to the LCCS, "including, 3 children and 3 defected soldiers, 7 in Idlib, 9 in Darya (Damascus Suburbs), 5 in Aleppo,3 in Hama, 2 in Homs, 1 in Daraa, 1 in Rankous (Damascus Suburbs."
Notice the steep rise in reported deaths in Darya (Daraya) and Aleppo, which could have been predicted by our earlier reports.
1607 GMT: An overhead picture of today's AlWefaq rally in Bahrain matches our reports that we posted earlier in two respects - the size (very large) and the fact that men and women appear to be marching side by side:
An EA correspondent reports:
I am really admiring the roll of women in our revolution.
Very interesting announcement made by Alwefaq [at the rally]. They will do an open set-in fir a week in Almugsha from morning to night
1553 GMT: According to a source, the Deputy Governor of Aleppo has gone on State TV and accused "criminals" of buying large quantities of bread and dumping it in the sewers in order to create food shortages and spark a humanitarian crisis.
A friend of ours, reading this update over my shoulder, suggested that this would make a very interesting episode of "Supermarket Sweep."
1517 GMT: Two more major defections are reported in Syria. According to a major activist news network, the men in this video identify themselves as a Lieutenant Colonel and a Major, and both announce their defection to the Free Syrian Army, in front of a large and cheering crowd in the Baba Amr district of Homs:1512 GMT: We've seen multiple reports of violence in Daraya, an important suburb of Damascus. The LCCS has the details:
Daraya: 4 people martyred and several wounded when security forces opened fire to disperse two peaceful demonstrations chanting for Hama and demanding the toppling of the regime. The martyrs are Mohammad Hassan Dabbas, Ezz elDin Toun, Sayyah Kouz and Mohammad Bilal Ahmar.
Several minutes later they reported that a 17 year old boy, Aboudi Falaha, was shot and killed by security forces.
Breaking BBC Arabic: 60 injured in Suez of which 21 by gunshot (خرطوش) in clashes between protesters & security forces
It's no cakewalk in Cairo, either. According to the latest report from The Guardian, this video was taken earlier. Protesters chant, "Down with army rule," and after 3 minutes, "Tantawi [Field Marshall in charge of SCAF], the revolution will be back to Tahrir Square.
1452 GMT: According to the LCCS, the number of those killed by security forces today across Syria has risen to 18, "including, 2 children, 6 in Idlib, 3 in Hama, 3 in Darya (Damascus Suburbs), 2 in Aleppo, 2 in Homs, 1 in Daraa, 1 in Rankous (Damascus Suburbs)."
Aleppo is supposedly an Assad stronghold, though protests have been on the rise, especially in the Marjeh district and the areas on the western half of the city near the stadium and the university. This level of violence, however, is rare, as security forces have instead turned to overwhelming shows of force to discourage protests or make arrests immediately.
Any serious acts of violence could be a catalyst for even more protests. This is the trend that has been set in nearly every major city in Syria.
1442 GMT: A significant defection in Syria - According to a source who has translated the video, this man is Air Force Colonel Qasem Saadeddine, and he is defecting, along with a large number of his officers, to the opposition. The defection reportedly occurred in al Rastan, Homs, a town that has been the host to many battles between the regime and the Free Syrian Army.
1435 GMT: There is another report that police used teargas to disperse a protest in the Marjeh district of Aleppo. There are also unconfirmed reports that live ammunition was also used. This video seems to confirm the teargas:
1425 GMT: Idlib province is hardly the only place where there are protests. In fact, Aleppo, Daraa, and Homs look like their competing for the most impressive protest videos of the day. This was reportedly taken in Ayn al Arab, Aleppo:
1415 GMT: Truly massive protests appear tp have been held across Idlib province. Even some of the very small towns have hosted hundreds, or thousands, at some of the rallies. This protest, for instance, was reportedly taken in Kafar Aaouaid:
And this was reportedly taken in Idlib city:
1406 GMT: The situation in Douma sounds intense. According to multiple sources, several large explosions, likely tank shells, have hit various parts of the city. The CFDPC post this picture, that they say was taken in the Abdel Raoof neighborhood, a residential neighborhood.
1350 GMT: Turning now to today's events in Syria, there have been large rallies across the nation in memory of the 30th anniversary of the Hama massacre. However, it has also been a bloody day. According to the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria, at least 12 have died so far, however that number was at their last tally, and it appears, based on other reports, that it will rise. The geographical breakdown of the report is as follows: "2 in Hama, 2 in Idlib, 2 in Homs, 2 in Aleppo, 2 in Damascus Suburbs, and 2 in Daraa."
The suburbs of Aleppo appear to have hosted large rallies. These suburbs, further away and more rural than the suburbs outside Damascus (for instance) are largely considered to be firmly opposed to Bashar al Assad's regime. Aleppo itself, though no longer the super-stronghold of regime support that it has been considered, is still largely allied to Assad, even if that alliance is far more lukewarm and muddled than it was just a few months ago.
However, there are still reports of protests in Aleppo city, including the video below that reportedly shows police firing on protesters in the Marjeh district:
Homs, and al Rastan to the north of Homs, continue to see heavy fighting.
In Qamishli, a largely Kurdish town in northern Syria, large protests were reportedly held and broken up by security, who used teargas.
These are all reports from the last hour. It's been a busy day in Syria.
[Whenever there are large rallies] every time the men march in front and women in the back, and due to the big number of protesters the rallies finish before women can walk for enough distance, so this time women decided to take the other side of the road and are marching side by side with the men.
In Bahraini society, that is a significant detail. So far, there are no reports of any clashes with police, but EA's been covering Bahrain enough to know that the clashes rarely happen at the large AlWefaq rallies. The events after the crowd disperses, however, are often another story.
1311 GMT: James Miller takes over for Scott Lucas, and a quick look at his email has produced an interesting nugget from Syria.
Last night, as we wrapped up our coverage, we had reports of large protests in Raqqa, a city of 200,000 residents in northern Syria, on the banks of the Euphrates River. By morning, however, it was clear that the developments were significant.
We've already posted video of protesters reportedly burning down a security forces building. According to EA's sources, large crowds occupied the Khadra Roundabout (video below). Now, the Syrian Uprising 2011 Information Centre adds these details:
RAQQAH (02/02/2012): There have been unusually large protests in the north eastern city of Raqqah tonight (pop: about 200,000). Despite being the capital of a large agricultural province severely affected by drought for the last 4 or 5 years, the city has remained relatively quiet for the last 11 months. Tonight hundreds of protesters have been chanting for the fall of the regime and clashing with security forces.:
1300 GMT: People assemble for the opposition rally in Bahrain today:
Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid Alkhalifa has sent a message via Twitter, "Had working lunch with Dr Bassiouni [chairman of last year's Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry]. Discussed progress made so far implementing BICI recommendations."
Analyst Marc Owen Jones comments, "Bet it was brief."
1255 GMT: A rally in Binnish in northwest Syria today:
1221 GMT: The "Day of Destiny" demonstration in the Yemeni city of Taiz:
1219 GMT: The rally in the Bab Amro section of Homs today:
Taftanaz in Hama Province:
Seven seats went to Shi'a candidates, who normally vote with the regime.
There are no women among the victors, after four served in the last Parliament.
Kuwait's Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, called the snap election amid a crisis over corruption allegations. In November, the Cabinet resigned shortly before former Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed al-Sabah was to be asked about the alleged payment of bribes to pro-government MPs.
Protesters had stormed the Parliament building in October when the government tried to prevent Sheikh Nasser facing questions.
Kuwait's parliament has the most powers of any elected body in the Gulf, and opposition MPs openly criticise the ruling Sabah family, but the Sabahs retains full control over key government and executive posts.
1040 GMT: Police fire tear gas and sound grenades at protesters in Markuban in Bahrain last night:
And after the security forces withdraw, the youth turn from protest to football:
0855 GMT: Human Rights Watch has asked for an enquiry into the death of a former Libyan Ambassador to France, who allegedly was killed by torture less than 24 hours after he was detained by a Tripoli-based militia from the town of Zintan.
Dr. Omar Brebesh was seized on 19 January. Human Rights Watch claimed that a preliminary autopsy report showed multiple bodily injuries and fractured ribs, with photos of Brebesh’s body, displaying welts, cuts, and the apparent removal of toenails.
Actually we're living in starvation. We're really hungry - no bread, no food, no drink, no electricity, no water - not anything. There is nothing. Everything is fighting and bombs. And war. Even if we want to go to the next street we can't.
Footage of clashes last night between regime forces and the Free Syrian Army in Anadan in Aleppo Province:
0615 GMT: A triple feature of protest on Thursday, as the uprising in Syria and demonstrations in Bahrain were joined by anger and defiance in Egypt, one day after 74 people died in violence at a football match in Port Said.
Protesters tore down the wall put up in front of the Ministry of Interior during clashes in November and December, as the Ministry called on the crowd "to listen to the sound of wisdom...at these critical moments" to prevent the spread of chaos. At least 668 people were wounded, as police fired tear gas, while black smoke rose from tyres set on fire by demonstrators.
In Suez, two protesters were shot and killed when security forces used live ammunition.
The scene on the street in Cairo: