Protesters gather in Tahrir Square for "Persistence Friday."
2056 GMT: As we close the day, a brief reflection. Our predictions this morning were pretty accurate. We saw massive demonstrations in Yemen, both for and against President Saleh. We saw a large pro-Gaddafi celebration in Libya because Gaddafi had ordered a single Friday Prayer celebration. We saw massive demonstrations in Suez and Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.
Perhaps the most important development, however, was in Syria. In Damascus, we saw large protests in the center of the city, and security fired on the crowds, a sure sign that even the capital is starting to turn against the regime, slowly but steadily. In Hama, US Ambassador Robert Ford was described by the Syrian Interior Minister as meeting "with saboteurs in Hama ... who erected checkpoints, cut traffic and prevented citizens from going to work." However, he got a hero's welcome, and nearly 500,000 people peacefully took to the streets with few incidents of security cracking down on the city.
Protests continue tonight in Egypt, and US-Syria relations may have changed permanently. Check in tomorrow (0600 GMT) to find out what happens next.
2051 GMT: Near Tahrir Square, Cairo, 5:30 PM:Near Tahrir Square, Cairo, 6:00 PM, and the protesters are still there now.